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RFK Jr. New York campaign staff member Rita Palma has been fired

By Aaron Pellish, CNN

(CNN) — Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign manager said on Wednesday that New York campaign staff member Rita Palma was fired after she told GOP voters in a meeting last week that preventing President Joe Biden’s victory was her “number one priority” and encouraged them to volunteer for former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.

“We terminated her contract for misrepresentation immediately upon seeing the longer video in which she gave an inaccurate job title and described a conversation that did not happen,” Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, Kennedy’s campaign manager and daughter-in-law, said in a post on X Wednesday evening.

Palma confirmed to CNN on Wednesday she is no longer employed by the campaign. She told CNN she believes Kennedy is “still by far the best candidate” and called the focus on her comments a “distraction.”

“I dealt with the campaign honestly,” Palma said. “I have nothing to defend. Truth defends itself.”

“My time with Team Kennedy has been one of the best political adventures of my life filled with some of the best people I’ve encountered, and I have encountered many. I hold no ill will and look forward to the next seven months of watching Bobby shine,” she added.

CNN reported Palma urged voters in the meeting to help collect signatures for Kennedy, vote for Kennedy in New York and travel to Pennsylvania to volunteer for Trump in pursuit of her goal to “block Biden from winning the presidency.” Palma identified herself as the Kennedy campaign’s New York state director during the meeting and in March 20 social media posts, and she said the political strategy she presented in the meeting was approved by the campaign.

The Kennedy campaign downplayed Palma’s role, calling her a “ballot access consultant” in a statement to CNN.

The Biden campaign has argued that Kennedy’s campaign is a spoiler that will ultimately benefit Trump at the ballot box in November.

While Democrats and Biden allies have organized aggressively to combat Kennedy, the Trump campaign has to this point largely ignored the independent’s campaign. Trump himself has welcomed Kennedy’s candidacy, saying in a social media post last month, “I love that he is running,” while labeling him “the most radical left candidate in the race.”

The Kennedy campaign sees obtaining ballot access in New York as among its most critical and challenging steps on the road to qualifying for the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, DC. A Kennedy campaign spokesperson previously told CNN that the campaign has designated New York as a priority for ballot access, with organizers working in all 62 counties in the state. The campaign will need to gather 45,000 valid signatures in the six-week window between April 16 and May 28.

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