Quote1 I stand in the shadow of a man who said a house divided against itself cannot stand. I stand in the shadow of a man for whom the preservation of the union -- and the ideals and hopes and freedoms for which it stands -- was worth any price, even his own life. Now, as then, this land we love faces a clear and present danger, to its liberty and its future. For Abraham Lincoln, the challenge was slavery. For us, on this cusp of the 21st century, it is mutants! Quote2
-- Senator Robert Kelly src

As member of the U.S. Senate, Robert Kelly long regarded the growing number of mutants as a threat to national security. 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 to attempt to assassinate Kelly in Washington, D.C. The Brotherhood did not succeed, thanks to the intervention of the X-Men.[2][3]

The failed assassination attempt fueled the Senator's resolve to pass the Registration Act.[4] He cultivated a partnership with industrialist Sebastian Shaw, who built mutant-hunting Sentinels and supported Kelly's plans. Unbeknownst to the Senator, Shaw was a mutant and the Black King of the Hellfire Club. 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.[5]

Kelly supported "Operation: Zero Tolerance" until he realized 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 and wielded his political influence to enlist the worldwide intelligence and peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. to shut down Bastion. His political views unaffected by the experience, Kelly declared his candidacy for president on an anti-mutant platform.

To ensure his safety against another assassination attempt 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 maneuvered 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.[6]

Senator Kelly was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[7]

The Robert Kelly Correctional Facility was named after him.[8]


Kelly was a persuasive public speaker.

Strength level

Normal human male with moderate regular exercise.

  • 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.

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