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Ron DeSantis mocked as ‘unhinged’ after saying he’ll consider RFK Jr to lead CDC or FDA if elected

RFK Jr is an outspoken anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist – making him an odd choice to head up the CDC or FDA

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 27 July 2023 18:18 BST
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Fox news host doesn’t hold back on Ron Desantis’ poll numbers

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he would consider appointing anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy Jr to head up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if he is elected to the White House.

The Republican presidential hopeful made the bizarre comment in an interview wth OutKick’s Clay Travis on Wednesday when he was asked whether he would consider adding RFK Jr to his ticket as vice president.

While Mr DeSantis dismissed the idea of having him as his running mate because – as RFK Jr is running as a Democrat – he believes his opinions would alienate Republican voters, he did suggest that he could consider him for other positions.

“If you’re president, you know, him on the FDA if he’d be willing to serve, or him on CDC,” Mr DeSantis said.

“But in terms of being VP – if there is, you know, 70 percent of the issues that he may be averse to our base on ... that just creates an issue.”

RFK Jr is an outspoken anti-vaccine activist, and, as such, the suggestion that he could serve on the CDC or FDA will no doubt spark concern among both organisations – as well as among Democrats.

It also seems that other Republican hopefuls would be less inclined to consider RFK Jr for a position – although not because of his anti-vax comments.

Former vice president Mike Pence tweeted his take on Mr DeSantis’ interview.

“When I am President, I will only consider Pro-Life Americans to lead FDA, CDC, or HHS,” he said.

2024 candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr appears on NewsNation for a town hall (NewsNation)

“To be clear, pro-abortion Democrats like RFK, Jr. would not even make the list.”

The current frontrunner for the Republican ticket remains former president Donald Trump, who is polling at above 50 percent, according to an NBC News poll – despite having been indicted in two criminal cases and potentially soon to be indicted on a third.

Mr Trump’s popularity with his base has so far survived him being the first president in history to be impeached twice by the House and becoming the first president in history to be indicted on both state and federal criminal charges.

Social media users on X, formerly known as Twitter, were quick to criticise the Florida governor’s proposal.

Democratic strategist Max Burns tweeted, “In a week of major mistakes for Ron DeSantis, the idea of making RFK Jr. the head of the CDC is perhaps DeSantis’ most unhinged yet.”

Former FDA Associate Commissioner Peter J. Pitts was not amused, writing, “Outrageous. They deserve each other.”

Similarly, a George Washington University professor of medicine opined, “Ron DeSantis suggesting that RFK Jr. could potentially run CDC or FDA in a DeSantis administration demonstrates how unserious a candidate he is.”

“One more nail in the why-a-vote-for-Ron- won’t happen,” one person wrote.

Another chimed in with a disapproving comment: “Oh, really Ron? Just this fact alone that you might even consider nominating an anti-Semitic, anti-vaxer, conspiracy theory kook to lead the FDA or CDC, scares me.”

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