For years, NBC’s Today show has provided a gushy platform for Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy Library to announce the winners of their “Profile in Courage” award on national TV. Usually, the “courage” is used for a liberal cause. In the last few years, they’ve honored Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney for anti-Trump stances.
On Tuesday, that “devout Catholic” family gave its “Courage” honors to the five female state legislators in South Carolina who united in opposition to a six-week abortion ban in that state. The ban passed anyway.
Savannah Guthrie introduced Caroline Kennedy and her son Jack Schlossberg to announce their latest winners.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Since 1989, the Kennedy family and the JFK Library Foundation have used the Profile In Courage award to celebrate the qualities President Kennedy admired most. It’s given to public servants who’ve made courageous decisions without regard for personal or professional consequences. And we’re so delighted to have Ambassador Caroline Kennedy here and her son Jack Schlossberg to announce this year’s recipients. Good morning to both of you!
CAROLINE KENNEDY: Thank you! Good morning.
GUTHRIE: Lots to catch up with you about. I hope we have our drumroll ready. But we’re gonna let you go, Jack. You guys are gonna announce the recipients this year. We have two. Let’s start with the domestic recipients. Who won this year’s award?
JACK SCHLOSSBERG: Well, this year we’re celebrating five state senators from South Carolina. Senators Senn, Shealy, Matthews, McLeod, and Gustafson. Each took a stand to protect individual rights when the state considered a ban — a total abortion ban.
GUTHRIE: This is a bipartisan group of senators, by the way.
SCHLOSSBERG: Yes. They represent all the female senators in the state senate. They’re from different political parties and they have very different views on the issue of abortion — some are pro-choice, and others are pro-life. But they came together and they stuck together and it wasn’t easy. They faced personal and political attacks and intense opposition, but they stuck together to protect individual rights.
GUTHRIE: One of the things the award always recognizes is people that take actions that might actually be against their own political incentives. Is that the case here?
SCHLOSSBERG: It came at great political risk for each of these senators, some of whom are facing primary challenges. This was not an easy issue for them to take on but they thought it was important enough to fight.
After Caroline Kennedy announced international award winners from Japan and South Korea, something surprising happened. Guthrie started asking about Jack Schlossberg making a video on Instagram denouncing the presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He called it an “embarrassing…vanity project.”
SCHLOSSBERG: I’m glad I did it. I stand by what I said in my video. I love my family and I’m very proud of our legacy of public service, especially my mom. We are lucky have to her as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia. But I think Joe Biden is a fantastic president. On every issue, from the economy, health care, climate change, civil rights. His record speaks for itself. So everything else —
GUTHRIE: These were harsh words, though, Jack. I mean, you said he’s using Camelot. He’s essentially abusing the family name in a way.
SCHLOSSBERG: Well, I think President Biden has done a fantastic job and I think the issues from this election are way too important for any of us to be distracted. I stand by what I said in my video.
Guthrie asked Caroline Kennedy if she knew her son was making the video. She denied any knowledge of it. Guthrie asked if it was “complicated” to denounce RFK Jr., and Caroline denied that, too.
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