After being elected to office, U.S. Senator Robert Kelly quickly met with F.B.I. Director Fred Duncan to discuss the perceived mutant threat, unaware that “Duncan” was secretly the shapeshifting mutant terrorist Mystique, who hoped to learn more about Kelly’s intentions. Soon after, Kelly attended a party at the Hellfire Club, unaware that his host - Sebastian Shaw - was a mutant. During the party, Shaw’s Inner Circle battled members of the heroic X-Men, whom Kelly regarded as a band of mutant criminals terrorizing innocent party-goers. Kelly ultimately addressed the U.S. Senate on the “mutant threat,” during which he was confronted by Mystique and her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Despite the X-Men’s opposition, Destiny cornered Kelly with a crossbow; however, Kelly was saved by the X-Man Kitty Pryde. This assassination attempt only strengthened Kelly’s resolve, and Kelly soon witnessed the formation of Project: Wideawake, a covert operation tasked with creating a new series of mutant-hunting Sentinel robots. Kelly then introduced the Mutant Affairs Control Act to the Senate. If passed, the Act would require mutants to disclose their identities and abilities to the government. Ultimately, the Act was rejected as unconstitutional.
Later, while in South America to obtain photographic evidence to use in America’s war on drugs, Kelly was captured and sentenced to death by local crimelord Señor Muerte. He was rescued by the government-sponsored Freedom Force team, ironically consisting of the Brotherhood that had previously attempted to assassinate him. Returned to America, Kelly soon married Sharon, a former Hellfire Club maid, and after a meeting with Shaw in New York, Kelly and his wife were caught up in a battle between the X-Men and the Sentinel’s leader, Master Mold. Aided by the X-Man Rogue, Sharon Kelly pulled her husband to safety, but was then killed in an explosion. Ultimately returning to his political duties, Kelly engaged in a televised debate between himself, mutant activist Professor Charles Xavier, anti-mutant movement leader Graydon Creed, and high profile mutant hero the Beast. During the debate, Kelly was surprised to find himself agreeing with many of Xavier’s opinions. Kelly later supported Operation: Zero Tolerance, a government-sponsored anti-mutant initiative, until discovering that the program was violating the rights of U.S. citizens by converting them into cybernetic Prime Sentinels. Withdrawing his support, Kelly became a target and was forced to seek the X-Men’s aid. Saved from assassination by Cyclops, Kelly convinced the U.S. President to mobilize the forces of the international law enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D. to shut down the operation.
Taking a more active role in his crusade, Kelly ran for president. On the eve of the election, at his final speech in Boston, Kelly was confronted by a new incarnation of Mystique’s Brotherhood. Despite the X-Men’s intervention, Kelly would have been killed if not for Pyro, a dying ex-Brotherhood member who sacrificed himself to save Kelly’s life. Pyro’s selfless act finally prompted Kelly to re-evaluate his stance on mutants, and after talking with the mutant soldier Cable, Kelly became convinced that peaceful coexistence was possible. However, while speaking at a college rally, Kelly was assassinated by anti-mutant activist Alan Lewis, who perceived Kelly as a traitor to humanity.