Rep. Ro Khanna urges RFK Jr.’s running mate to resign

In a bold move, Democratic Representative Ro Khanna of California has called for Nicole Shanahan, the running mate of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, to step down. Khanna expressed concern that supporting Kennedy’s candidacy could inadvertently provide an opportunity for former President Donald Trump to secure victory in the upcoming election.

In a letter shared with CBS News, he presented his pitch to her, although he had not yet sent it to Shanahan.

In his letter, Khanna pointed out that even Trump himself, along with other members of his team, have acknowledged the potential of a RFK Jr. ticket to boost his chances of re-election.

According to Khanna, it is evident that granting Trump a second term would have detrimental effects on the climate and would reverse the progress made by President Biden’s groundbreaking Inflation Reduction Act. This act, which is the most significant step taken by Congress in addressing clean energy and climate change, would be undone, potentially leading to disastrous consequences. Although there may be valid disagreements with the Democratic Party’s platform, the urgency to prioritize climate action should not be overlooked.

Upon being contacted by CBS News, Shanahan took to social media to share her response to the letter, expressing her lack of tolerance for Khanna’s recent views on the Kennedy campaign.

During my conversation with Ro, he extended his congratulations on my new position and offered his encouragement to run. He emphasized that every American possesses the right to participate in the democratic process, stating that it is inappropriate for anyone to issue threats against my candidacy.

“Clearly, Ro has altered his position under the influence of party pressure,” she continued. “I sincerely hope that he comprehends the undemocratic nature of requesting someone to withdraw from a race that enables the American public to exercise their own judgment.”

She was disappointed that he didn’t call her privately and described his actions as “performative.”

“I have given him my direct line,” she wrote.

In her response to CBS, Shanahan emphasized that her post was a comprehensive reply. She expressed her intention to demonstrate that she prioritizes the interests of the people over the influence of the corporate press.

In a social media post on Tuesday night, Kennedy expressed his gratitude to Nicole for her courage and grace. He also mentioned his admiration for Ro Khanna but expressed disappointment over his change of stance. Kennedy believes that the party has the ability to pressure individuals of integrity into wavering.

In his letter to Shanahan, Khanna, a surrogate for President Biden’s reelection campaign, highlighted recent polling data indicating that Kennedy has the potential to sway the November election in Trump’s favor, particularly in swing states. He urged her to carefully consider the possible consequences of another Trump presidency on the environment, an issue that Shanahan herself emphasized when she decided to join the Kennedy campaign.

During a recent event in Oakland, California, Shanahan candidly referred to herself as a “disillusioned Democrat.” She expressed her frustration with the lack of action taken by various political figures regarding environmental policy. Shanahan’s disappointment ultimately led her to join Kennedy’s campaign as his running mate.

In February, financial campaign filings revealed that Shanahan, an affluent attorney from California, had already contributed $4 million to back the Kennedy campaign. This generous donation played a crucial role in financing a Super Bowl ad for the independent underdog.

Shanahan’s office stated that he has generously donated over $17,000 to Khanna, including a recent contribution made last year. Khanna revealed that their mutual dedication to environmental preservation brought them together and they have been acquainted for several years.

Democrats have expressed concerns about Mr. Biden’s capacity to secure victory against Trump in crucial battleground states where the margin of triumph in 2020 was slim. States like Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan were all won by Mr. Biden by a margin of under 50,000 votes.

Democratic groups such as MoveOn and Third Way recently made an announcement that they intend to divert their efforts towards undermining Kennedy’s campaign after No Labels revealed its decision to no longer pursue a competing Unity ticket. These Democratic organizations have been actively working to prevent third-party candidates from challenging the president.

In a recent phone conversation with CBS News, Khanna emphasized his respect for Nicole’s right to run and his acknowledgement of third parties and multiple parties. However, he clarified that he was expressing his perspective from a persuasive standpoint.

“I definitely don’t want to speak ill of her personally, but I hope she recognizes the importance of becoming part of the larger Democratic coalition,” he expressed.

Khanna’s office decided to make the letter public in order to urge Shanahan to reconsider joining Kennedy’s campaign, after privately attempting to dissuade her.

According to Marie Baldassarre, a spokeswoman for Rep. Khanna, the decision to make the letter public and involve the press was made in order to raise awareness about the potential dangers of RFK’s campaign. Additionally, Rep. Khanna had previously reached out to Nicole privately, urging her to reconsider and join the Biden coalition.

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