- —Senator Robert Kelly[src]
In the 1960s, a young Kelly worked for the N.S.A.. In 1962, he witnessed Blue Marvel battle Anti-Man from the war room at the Pentagon. At the end of the fight, it was revealed that Blue Marvel was African-American. Kelly advised President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy to ask Brashear to step back due to racial tensions across the country.
He later ran for office and became a Senator for his home state of Massachusetts. As member of the U.S. Senate, Robert Kelly long regarded the growing number of mutants as a threat to national security. He cultivated a partnership with industrialist Sebastian Shaw, who supported Kelly's plans. Unbeknown to the Senator, Shaw was a mutant and the Black King of the Hellfire Club. Kelly was invited to a party at the club and Mastermind created an illusion and caused him to believe Cyclops fired randomly into a crowd.
To cope with this supposed danger, he promoted legislation such as the Mutant Registration Act, requiring those with powers of genetic origin to disclose their abilities to the government. This proposal prompted the second Brotherhood of Mutants to attempt to assassinate Kelly in Washington, D.C.. The death of Kelly lead to Dystopian Future in which Sentinels conquered the planet. Kitty Pryde from that timeline sent her consciousness back in time to her younger self and working with the X-Men stopped the Brotherhood and saved Kelly's life. The failed assassination attempt fueled the Senator's resolve to pass the Registration Act.
Senator Kelly and Dr. Hank McCoy had lecture at Fontane College in Boston. Kelly discussed the importance of the "Mutant Registration Act" as a young mutant; Adrian Castorp attacked Kelly on stage. Iceman tried to stop him while Beast was shot by security. However the stress caused Adrian to collapse due to his powers causing nerve damage.
Following one of his meetings with Shaw in New York, the Senator's limousine was demolished by debris from a fight involving the X-Men. Kelly survived -- but his wife, Sharon, died in the wreckage. Kelly's grief strengthened his position that mutants were too dangerous to be allowed to run rampant, and he ordered the production of more Sentinels.
War on Drugs
Due to Kelly's stance on the drugs trade, the drug Lord; Señor Muerte ordered one of his lackeys Tamone to execute Kelly. However the mutant shape-shifter; Mystique working for Freedom Force disguised herself as Senor Muerte to reverse the order.
When the Reavers went to New York to seek revenge against the Hellfire Club, the X-Men intervened. Kelly arrived at the end of the fight seeing nothing but destruction and blamed the X-Men. He however stopped when he saw Jean Grey had been killed.
Chairman of Mutant Affairs
Kelly was appointed the Chairman of Mutant Affairs. He later gave a statement after the attack and destruction of Our Mother of the Sacred Heart School by the Acolytes  This lead to a heated Television debate between Kelly and Professor Charles Xavier. The two left the program on amicable terms.
Senator Kelly began working with Project Wideawake in support of containing the Mutant threat. They were producing Sentinels on production lines as the countries new fighting force. When X-Factor arrived to investigate the Acolytes attack on Cape Hayden the found Kelly and the project but left peacefully when Valerie Cooper revealed she knew all about it.
After Magneto's devastating attack on Westchester County; Ambassador Lenore St. Croix came to Washington, D.C. to discuss the threat of Asteroid M. He later tried to clean up the public relations nightmare when James Madrox of X-Factor was revealed to the Legacy Virus calling for Val Cooper to sort out the mess. It was during this time that Kelly learned the news that Graydon Creed was planning to run for President.
Operation: Zero Tolerance
Kelly supported "Operation: Zero Tolerance". However during an investigation into the project he learned people had gone missing. It was revealed the android known as Bastion, programmed to exterminate mutants, was using the program to convert innocent humans into Sentinels and trampling on the rights of U.S. citizens. When he withdrew his support, the Senator became one of the Sentinels' targets. To save his life, he called on the X-Men.
Kelly later helped X-Factor again when they were trying to investigate Hound program. He helped guide them to a secret research facility disguised as a farm. Kelly with the help of Gyrich used organizations equipment and resource to battle the invading Phalanx. 
After a visit to his wife's grave he decided to go back to Washington and shutdown "Operation: Zero Tolerance". He met with the National Security Council to discuss his findings. He wielded his political influence to enlist the worldwide intelligence and peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. to shut down Bastion. One of the last things he had to do while shutting dismantling Operation: Zero Tolerance was to free Professor X. However when he got to his cell it was empty.
Kelly began to seriously consider running for president, Tessa met with him at his wife's grave to persuade him to change his mind but she ultimately failed. Senator Kelly later announced his candidacy for the office of Presidents of the United States of America and planned to run on an anti-mutant platform.
Later in Washington, D.C., Senator Kelly met with Senator Stewart Ward who agreed to support his presidential bid. Luckily Kelly did not shake his hand due to a cold saving him from being infected by the Z'nox virus. But sadly his assistant Susan Strong did.
At a fundraiser in Hollywood; Mystique in the form of Dr. Valerie Cooper questioned Kelly about his platform. He told her that the rights of humans over mutants is their right to reclaim their own destiny. This was predicted in Destiny's Books and Mystique knew what she had to do to protect her people. Kelly visited Chicago and met with the people as his number grew in the polls. As his campaign roared into the final week of the election he visited the state of Ohio. He met with the real Dr. Cooper and Sharon Carter head of S.H.I.E.L.D. who came to discuss the threat to his life. He brushed them off claiming these was just the risks of the job. He continued in his interviews to spout the threat and danger of mutants to the country.
During the campaign; Mystique hired Ruckus to assassinate Kelly during a campaign rally by but failed due to the intervention of the X-Men who teleported him away  After another attack by the Brotherhood, the Senator accepted Professor Charles Xavier's offer of assistance and added the X-Men's Cable to his personal security team. As the evil mutant Post manoeuvred toward Kelly at a rally in Boston, former Brotherhood member Pyro used the final manifestation of his powers to kill the assassin and save Kelly's life. Pyro's selfless act finally prompted the Senator to re-evaluate his stance on mutants.
Ironically, an anti-mutant activist named Alan Lewis believed the Senator betrayed the anti-mutant cause by toning down his rhetoric and assassinated him when he was speaking at a college rally despite him being guarded by Cable. Senator Kelly was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Kelly was a persuasive public speaker.
- The fictional name of the character Robert Kelly was chosen by Chris Claremont in honor of his Bard College professor, the poet Robert Kelly. The latter has confirmed the coincidence between the two names in interviews among his students.
- 44 appearance(s) of Robert Kelly (Earth-616)
- 3 minor appearance(s) of Robert Kelly (Earth-616)
- 19 mention(s) of Robert Kelly (Earth-616)
- 9 image(s) of Robert Kelly (Earth-616)
- 3 quotation(s) by or about Robert Kelly (Earth-616)