What You Don't Know About Joe Kennedy III

Joe Kennedy III appears more than ready to continue the legacy of the most prominent family in American politics. In January 2018, he grabbed international headlines by delivering the rebuttal to President Trump's State of the Union address almost 55 years to the day after his great-uncle, President John F. Kennedy, delivered his last one. So how did he get here? From his fights for equality to his meeting the love of his life in a Harvard Law class, let's take a look at what you may not know about the rising Democratic star currently serving Massachusetts fourth Congressional District.

He laughs off the jokes about his "drool"

We've all seen the jokes and memes skewering Kennedy's "drool" during is State Of The Union rebuttal, but as it turns out, it was just an overzealous use of ChapStick. Calling his liberal use of lip balm "a little too much, apparently," Kennedy appeared on Good Morning America and took the jokes in stride. "Oddly enough I decided to go a little bit light on the ChapStick this morning. More on the coffee, light on the ChapStick!" 

However, Kennedy would very much like for everyone to remember what's actually important — his message.

"They can point out too much ChapStick all they want — it doesn't mean that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice isn't rolling back civil rights protections," he said during an interview with POLITICO's Off Message podcast. No matter what political beliefs you may hold, that's a pretty good pivot from his over-balmed lips to the words that came out of them.

He got a rare apology from Tomi Lahren

One can always expect Fox News contributor and social media firebrand Tomi Lahren to give her hot take on any political issue, and boy did she ever after Kennedy's response to President Trump's State of the Union address. Calling the Senator a "little ginger nerd," and claiming he looks "a helluva lot like pre-Caitlyn Bruce Jenner," Lahren saved the majority of her ire for Instagram. 

"If you haven't yet had the displeasure of watching that little limp d***'s response to President Trump's State of the Union, I suggest you take some Pepto-Bismol or some Midol or whatever you need to do to get through it, because it was pathetic and it was embarrassing. Oh my god," Lahren proclaimed in the since deleted video.

However, the controversial commentator provided a public apology the very next day. 

"My comments on my personal Instagram about Kennedy's response were inappropriate and I take full responsibility for that," Lahren tweeted. "I got too upset. I sincerely apologize."

No word on which comments Lahren was apologizing for specifically, but Joe Kennedy III might be the only Democrat to have "apology from Tomi Lahren" on their resume.

He met his wife in Elizabeth Warren's Harvard Law class

Kennedy and his wife, health policy lawyer Lauren Anne Birchfield, have been married since 2012, and they have Elizabeth Warren to thank. Not only did Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren's class help them achieve their respective law degrees, it's the place they first set eyes on each other.

"He sat in the front row, on my left, and Lauren was in the back row on my right," Warren said in an interview with WPRI. "Joe tells me there are five couples from that class, and I take credit for all of them!"

He's a staunch advocate for transgender rights

As a member of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force, Kennedy had some harsh words for President Trump's summer 2017 decision to ban transgender individuals from military service. 

"[T]his morning, our president has told thousands of American soldiers that they will fight for us, but we will not fight for them. That their deeply personal medical decisions are somehow the public's business," the Congressman stated on the House floor. "That although they are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect our freedom, we will not offer them the most basic freedom in return."

To reiterate where he stands on this issue, Kennedy invited transgender soldier and 19-year veteran Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King as his guest to the State Of The Union address. 

"Patricia King represents the best and bravest our nation offers," Kennedy tweeted. "She will make our Commonwealth and our country proud at the State of the Union on Tuesday night."

He has Republican fans

His last name alone made him born a Democrat, but that doesn't stop Joe Kennedy III from having a fan club that sits across the aisle. 

"I think he's got more potential than anybody else on the Democrat side of that conference because of the way he carries himself, the homework that he does and his ability to serve," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNN. "He's a very worthy adversary. He's smart. He does that homework and what I really admire about him, he can go out and be one of these legislators who can just go get press," McCarthy continued. "That's not his way. He really got the legislator quality of where the Kennedys were in the past."

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who sits with Kennedy on the Energy and Commerce Committee also spoke with CNN about Kennedy: "One thing about Joe: Joe's heart is in the right place. I tell him he voted wrong all the time. He tells me he votes wrong all the time. But I know where his heart is and he truly has a passion to serve. You can see that in him."

He's a master of Facebook

Although Kennedy has kept a relatively low media profile during his time in office, he's dominating the Facebook game. He first garnered national attention in March 2017 when he uploaded his impassioned speech criticizing the Republican American Health Care Act, which he called an "act of malice", to his official Facebook page. As of this writing, it has 3 million views and has been shared over 65,000 times.

Whether it be the 10 million who witnessed his defiance over the GOP repeal bill, or the 22,000 who shared his opposition against cuts to Planned Parenthood, Kennedy continually uses the world's most popular social media platform to deliver his message where he knows it has the best chance of being heard and digested.

He has personal reasons to end gun violence

Joe Kennedy III's grandfather and great-uncle were both gunned downed in the primes of their lives, so curbing the scourge of America's gun violence isn't just a talking point for the young politician, and he has no trouble calling out those who wish to stop a meaningful gun debate before it even starts. He did just that after the shooting spree in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and more than 500 others injured.  

"Ending gun violence isn't political. This is personal," Kennedy proclaimed on the House floor per The Nation. "So we are not powerless. We are not helpless. We are not hostages to some political organization."

He continued: "This is our country and our home and our families. We can decide that one person's right to bear arms does not come at the expense of a neighbor's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

He's already a millionaire

Despite what's known as the Kennedy Curse, being born a Kennedy definitely comes with some great perks. Per Newsweek, Kennedy is a "Stanford and Harvard Law grad whose net worth is $42.3 million, according to an analysis of financial disclosure forms. That includes a $5 million trust fund." According to Open Secrets, Kennedy had an estimated net worth of $43.1 million in 2014 — which actually only made him the 22nd richest person in Congress. It appears being a Kennedy doesn't pay as well as being a member of Congress. Who knew? 

His stint in the Peace Corps helped local workers in the Dominican Republic

Viewers were a bit shocked when Kennedy addressed Dreamers in Spanish during his State Of The Union response. But when you spend two years in the Dominican Republic as part of the Peace Corps, you tend to pick up a little Spanish. Kennedy also saw rampant poverty, including the local tour guides who were making 10 cents a day while the tour companies raked in cash. 

Per Cape Cod Chronicle, Kennedy negotiated on behalf of the workers for higher wages, and a portion of the companies' revenues "were reserved for environmental projects and community development efforts." 

"We basically created a union," Kennedy told students at Harwich High School, urging them to understand the importance of volunteering.

He could be the youngest President in history

With op-eds such as "Why Congressman Joe Kennedy should run for president in 2020," in which Joe Kennedy III is compared to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and "Will There Be Another President Kennedy?," there's already been plenty of buzz surrounding the young Kennedy's political aspirations even before his fiery State Of The Union response. 

But in an interview with Town & Country in 2017, the young Senator is reportedly "firmly ensconced in his congressional office" but is keeping his options open.

We all know how fast things can change in the political landscape, so if Kennedy were to be elected President in 2020 at 40 years old, he'd be youngest ever elected to the highest office in the land. Who holds the record for youngest person ever to be elected President you may ask? You guessed it. His great-uncle, John F. Kennedy.