A star-studded fundraiser planned for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s anti-vaccine super PAC has turned into a debacle after several celebrity guests denied plans to attend. The event was intended to raise money and support for Kennedy’s possible 2024 presidential bid.
Music Legends Refute Involvement
Musical icons Dionne Warwick and Andrea Bocelli were both listed as headline performers at the January 6th gala at Kennedy’s New York home. However, both legendary singers quickly shut down reports of their participation.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Warwick tweeted. “I will not be there. I don’t know where that came from.” Meanwhile, Bocelli outright denied any agreement to appear, with his management stating: “He is not confirmed to attend this reported event on January 6.”
The debunking of Bocelli and Warwick’s involvement casts major doubt around the celebrity guest list promoted by Kennedy’s PAC.
Sheen and West Wing Costars Rally Around Biden
Alongside the music legends, actor Martin Sheen was also listed as a special guest at the fundraiser. However, Sheen quickly mobilized his former West Wing costars to deny the rumor and reaffirm his support for President Biden’s re-election campaign.
“I am not attending this event,” Sheen tweeted. “I support President Biden.” Bradley Whitford, who played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on The West Wing, echoed Sheen’s statement: “Martin Sheen is a great actor and an even greater man. He is fully committed to getting President Biden re-elected.”
The unified front from Sheen and the fictional Bartlett administration delivers a tough celebrity blow to Kennedy’s hopes of positioning himself as the ideal anti-establishment candidate for 2024.
Mike Tyson Also a No-Show Due to “Misunderstanding”
Besides celebrities from the music and acting worlds, Kennedy’s guest list also included legendary boxer Mike Tyson. However, reports now indicate Iron Mike will also not be attending the fundraiser gala due to a “misunderstanding” between both camps.
With Tyson skipping the event, it remains to be seen whether any of the touted celebrity guests will actually show up to fete Kennedy as he courts anti-vaccine voters and tests the 2024 presidential waters.
Kennedy Camp Denies Responsibility for Guest List
As the credibility of the guest list crumbled following the multiple celebrity rebuffs, a spokesman for Kennedy sought to distance the PAC from responsibility. “We are not involved in organizing this event,” the spokesman said in a statement.
However, the external organizer referenced by the spokesman remains unknown, adding further chaos and confusion around the botched celebrity fundraiser.
The full guest list promoted by Kennedy’s team included:
|Will Not Attend
With Kennedy’s PAC denying responsibility for the guest list just days before the event, it remains unlikely whether the fundraiser will reflect the glitzy celebrity affair initially advertised. The external organizer has massive holes to fill on the guest list, as Kennedy’s anti-vaccine ties continue hampering his attempted star-studded gala.
Implications for Kennedy’s Presidential Hopes
The unraveling fundraiser comes at a critical juncture for RFK Jr. as he tests the 2024 waters. The goal of the celebrity-backed gala was to raise Kennedy’s profile and position him as a disruptive force going into the next presidential cycle.
However, the very public denials from music and acting royalty has undermined Kennedy’s desired image as an anti-establishment candidate with A-list appeal. Additionally, the debacle has reinforced Kennedy’s primary association with anti-vaccine activism rather than established policy credentials.
As Kennedy slogs onwards towards a potential presidential run, he will need to move beyond the fundraiser embarrassment and bolster his policy platform. Rehabilitating his profile with mainstream voters will prove challenging following the jarring celebrity rebukes.
In the wake of the unraveling fundraiser, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. faces hard questions about the viability of his potential 2024 presidential campaign. While he retains appeal among his anti-vaccine base, bridging into the mainstream will require confronting skeptical celebrity sectors that have now publicly distanced themselves. Rebuilding momentum will necessitate clearly articulating his policy vision beyond just anti-vaccine stances.
For President Biden, the united front from Martin Sheen and his former West Wing stars provides a welcome celebrity boost as he gears up to announce his re-election campaign. Tying himself to their legacy can strengthen Biden’s appeal to portray himself as the steady governing hand in contrast to Kennedy’s anti-establishment bid. As 2024 moves closer, celebrity support from the likes of Dionne Warwick and Bradley Whitford gifts Biden helpful surrogates to make his case on the campaign trail.
The months ahead will determine whether RFK Jr. can bounce back from the brutal headlines around his botched celebrity fundraiser. But for now, his desired image as the disruptive anti-establishment candidate for 2024 has taken a major hit. Rebuilding political capital could require moving beyond the anti-vaccine niche and making broader overtures to win over skeptical mainstream voters. The road ahead for Kennedy’s presidential ambitions faces deeply uncertain terrain.
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