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RFK Jr.’s onetime allies in environmental advocacy call for him to drop out

By Aaron Pellish, CNN

(CNN) — Environmental groups are condemning Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential bid and his environmental policy in new efforts on Friday, portraying him as a candidate who will increase the chances former President Donald Trump is reelected.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a climate advocacy group where Kennedy previously served as senior attorney for 28 years, is planning to run a full-page advertisement in newspapers through its political arm in six battleground states on Sunday. According to a copy of the ad obtained by CNN, the group is calling on Kennedy to drop out of the race to prevent him from being a spoiler for Trump, who they call “the single worst environmental president our country has ever had.”

“We have spent our careers fighting to protect the planet and its people. As current and former leadership and board members of the NRDC Action Fund, as well as former colleagues of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., we have one message for him: Honor our planet, drop out,” the ad reads.

“In nothing more than a vanity candidacy, RFK Jr. has chosen to play the role of election spoiler to the benefit of Donald Trump – the single worst environmental president our country has ever had,” the ad continues.

The ad is expected to run in newspapers in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina.

In a separate effort, a dozen environmental organizations have penned an open letter urging voters to reject Kennedy’s climate proposals, attacking his views on climate and warning his candidacy could help Trump win re-election and lead to “the complete erosion of vital environmental and social gains made to date.”

“Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is not an environmentalist. He is a dangerous conspiracy theorist and science denier whose agenda would be a disaster for our communities and the planet,” the letter reads. “He may have once been an environmental attorney, but now RFK Jr. is peddling the term ‘climate change orthodoxy’ and making empty promises to clean up our environment with superficial proposals. The truth is, by rejecting science, what he offers is no different than Donald Trump.”

The New York Times first reported the environmental groups’ actions.

Kennedy has leaned on his previous work with the NRDC and other environmental groups throughout his presidential campaign and has pledged to be the “best environmental president in American history.” He has opposed parts of the Inflation Reduction Act passed during the Biden administration and has criticized Trump for rolling back environmental regulations.

In an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, Kennedy said environmental organizations are “making a mistake to settle for crumbs that have been given to us by the Biden administration.” He also pushed back on the argument his candidacy would help Trump defeat Biden.

“President Biden does not need my help to lose to Donald Trump,” Kennedy said.

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