RFK Jr. Says Guilty Verdict May Help Trump's Election Prospects

The independent presidential candidate spoke Thursday at Consensus 2024 in Austin, Texas.

AccessTimeIconMay 30, 2024 at 11:38 p.m. UTC
Updated May 31, 2024 at 12:31 a.m. UTC

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said his presidential election opponent Donald Trump's guilty verdict Thursday may end up boosting Trump's prospects in November.

"My belief is that it will end up helping President Trump among a large part of the American public," Kennedy said on stage at Consensus 2024 in Austin, Texas, hours after the news broke.

Kennedy, breaking from his family's Democratic Party roots, is running as an independent, facing off against Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and President Joe Biden. He said that his team's internal research shows he'd beat either Trump or Biden in a head-to-head contest in the presidential election but noted that if he dropped out of the race, more than half of his supporters would instead vote for Trump.

"I'm not a fan of Trump's," Kennedy said. "The division in our country is largely down to him and Biden, and it's not a good thing for our country."

Kennedy's Pro-Crypto Stance

He delighted the standing-room-only crowd – filled with crypto enthusiasts – with comments in support of the technology.

"Transactional freedom is absolutely as important as freedom of expression," he said.

RFK Jr. speaks at Consensus 2024. (CoinDesk/Nik De)
RFK Jr. speaks at Consensus 2024. (CoinDesk/Nik De)

Crypto has in recent weeks become more prominent on the campaign trail. Trump has turned from past crypto skepticism to open support, including soliciting campaign donations denominated in crypto. While Biden has not expressed support, one-third of Democrats in the U.S. House just joined with Republicans to pass a crypto bill. Also, under the watch of Biden's Democratic administration, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission just took a big step toward approving exchange-traded funds designed to hold Ethereum's ether (ETH) – something that seemed unlikely just weeks ago.

Before appearing on stage, Kennedy spoke to reporters at the Austin Convention Center. He was asked about Trump's new pro-crypto stance.

"I'm happy about that," Kennedy said. "I think it's a good thing for our country. Commitment to crypto is a commitment to freedom and transparency. I'm not going to question if it was a political decision. I'm happy he did it, and I hope President Biden does, too."

He also discussed his own feelings about crypto.

"We need to make sure America remains the hub of blockchain technology," he said. "I'm going to make sure cryptocurrency is regulated in a way that protects the consumer from deceptive schemes."


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.

Nick Baker

Nick Baker is CoinDesk’s deputy editor-in-chief and a Loeb Award winner. His crypto holdings are below CoinDesk's $1,000 disclosure threshold.