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Kennedy says he loves his family 'either way' after relatives endorse Biden's campaign over his

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Kennedy says he loves his family 'either way' after relatives endorse Biden's campaign over his
News

News

Kennedy says he loves his family 'either way' after relatives endorse Biden's campaign over his

2024-04-22 10:38 Last Updated At:10:50

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Sunday acknowledged endorsements from more than a dozen of his relatives who are backing Democratic President Joe Biden, noting that he feels no ill will over the family political divide.

“Some of them don’t like the fact that I’m running,” Kennedy said of his relatives, after a comedy showcase in suburban Detroit to benefit his campaign.

Kennedy — who last year launched an independent presidential bid after first challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination — was reacting to the endorsements from his sister and other relatives last week, a move by the Biden campaign that signals how seriously the president’s team is taking a long-shot candidate using his last name’s lingering Democratic magic to siphon support from the incumbent.

In Philadelphia, Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, niece of former President John F. Kennedy and sister of the current presidential candidate, called Biden “my hero," saying — without mention of her brother — that the family wanted to “make crystal clear” their support for reelecting Biden.

Biden, who keeps a bust of Robert F. Kennedy in the Oval Office, said the endorsements were “an incredible honor.”

Going on to describe family debates he said his father orchestrated among his children, Kennedy said Sunday night that the exercise showed him a respectful way to take opposing positions with people he cares about without taking it personally.

“I debated them with information and passion and not to hate each other because we disagreed with each other,” he said. "I love my family, either way.”

Kennedy — who mentioned Biden's Oval Office RFK bust, as well as his relatives currently working both in the Biden's administration and on his own presidential campaign — made his remarks in Michigan, where last week, the campaign secured access to the general election ballot. In front of the suburban Detroit theater ahead of the performances, several dozen protesters opposed Kennedy's appearance, with signs aiming to align Kennedy with former President Donald Trump.

Kennedy has spoken publicly in the past about disagreeing with his family on many issues, but maintains it can be done in “friendly” ways. After a super political action committee supporting his campaign produced a TV ad during the Super Bowl that relied heavily on imagery from John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential run, Kennedy Jr. apologized to his relatives on the X social media platform, saying he was sorry if the spot “caused anyone in my family pain.”

“I love my family. I feel that they love me," he said Sunday. "And I wish the same thing would happen for all of our country, where we disagree with each other without hating on each other.”

Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Royal Oak, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Royal Oak, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Royal Oak, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Royal Oak, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

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Israeli strikes kill 16 in Rafah, medics say, as residents report heavy fighting

2024-05-28 18:18 Last Updated At:18:21

CAIRO (AP) — Israeli strikes on Rafah have killed at least 16 Palestinians, first responders said Tuesday, as residents reported an escalation of fighting in the southern Gaza city.

An Israeli incursion launched in early May has caused nearly 1 million to flee from Rafah, most of whom have already been displaced in the war between Israel and Hamas, and who are now seeking refuge in squalid tent camps and war-ravaged areas.

The latest strikes occurred in the same area where Israel targeted what it said was a Hamas compound on Sunday night. That strike ignited a fire in a camp for displaced Palestinians and killed at least 45 people, according to local health officials, sparking worldwide outrage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was a “tragic mishap" on Sunday and the military said it was investigating.

Strikes overnight killed a total of 16 people in the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood in northwest Rafah, according to the Palestinian Civil Defense and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Israel says it is carrying out limited operations in eastern Rafah along the Gaza-Egypt border. But residents reported heavy bombardment overnight in western parts of Rafah as well.

“It was a night of horror,” said Abdel-Rahman Abu Ismail, a Palestinian from Gaza City who has been sheltering in Tel al-Sultan since December. He said he heard “constant sounds” of explosions overnight and into Tuesday morning, with fighter jets and drones flying over the area.

He said it reminded him of the Israeli invasion of of his neighborhood of Shijaiyah in Gaza City, where Israel launched a heavy bombing campaign before sending in ground forces in late 2023. “We saw this before,” he said.

Sayed al-Masri, a Rafah resident, said many families have been forced to flee their homes and shelters, with most heading for the crowded Mawasi area, where giant tent camps have been set up on a barren coastline, or to Khan Younis, a southern city that suffered heavy damage during months of fighting.

“The situation is worsening” in Rafah, al-Masri said.

The war began when Hamas and other militants burst into southern Israel in a surprise attack on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 civilians and abducting around 250. More than 100 were released during a weeklong cease-fire in November in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Israel responded to the Oct. 7 attack with a massive air, land and sea offensive that has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its count. Around 80% of Gaza's population of 2.3 million has been displaced and parts of the territory are experiencing famine.

Netanyahu says Israel must destroy what he says are Hamas’ last remaining battalions in Rafah. The United States and other close allies have warned Israel against carrying out a full-fledged ground offensive in the city, saying it could cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Palestinians killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, on Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, on Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. Palestinian health workers said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 35 people in the area. Israel's army confirmed Sunday's strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior Hamas militants. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. Palestinian health workers said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 35 people in the area. Israel's army confirmed Sunday's strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior Hamas militants. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. Palestinian health workers said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 35 people in the area. Israel's army confirmed Sunday's strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior Hamas militants. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. Palestinian health workers said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 35 people in the area. Israel's army confirmed Sunday's strike and said it hit a Hamas installation and killed two senior Hamas militants. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

An Israeli Apache helicopter fires a missile towards the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

An Israeli Apache helicopter fires a missile towards the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Smoke billows after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Smoke billows after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

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