Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that he would consider putting Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running for the White House as a Democrat, in charge of one of the major federal health agencies.
During an interview with Clay Travis, DeSantis said his views align with Kennedy’s on COVID-19 policies and the “corruption” with federal health officials.
“If you’re president, sic him on the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] if he’d be willing to serve. Or sic him on CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” DeSantis said in response to a question about whether he’d consider making Kennedy his running mate. “But in terms of being veep, there’s 70 percent of the issues that he may be averse to our base on, you know, that just creates an issue.”
Kennedy is a long-shot candidate for president, but he has increasingly been embraced by Republicans, including former President Trump, who amplify his contentious views as a way to try to play spoiler for the Democrats.
At GOP invitation last week, Kennedy spoke before the House Judiciary select subcommittee on the “weaponization” of the federal government, where he was blasted by the Democrats on the panel.
He is a prominent anti-vaccine activist and a vocal critic COVID-19 mitigation measures. He appeals to the libertarian faction of the right that dislikes vaccine mandates and “lockdowns” and raise questions about the safety of vaccines, including the one for COVID-19.
In the past few weeks, he has come under fire from Democrats for suggesting that the coronavirus was engineered to target “Caucasians and Black people” and to be less lethal to Asian and Jewish people.
DeSantis is also a harsh critic of the federal bureaucracy, which he suggests is too “woke.” He previously said he would seek to abolish the departments of Education, Commerce and Energy, as well as the IRS.
As governor, DeSantis has waged a war against federal health agencies, as well as private companies in his state that enacted COVID-19 policies he felt were too strict.
DeSantis’s suggestion that he would appoint Kennedy to a position in his administration drew a rebuke from fellow GOP candidate Mike Pence, the former vice president.
“When I am President, I will only consider Pro-Life Americans to lead the FDA, CDC, or HHS. To be clear, pro-abortion Democrats like RFK, Jr. would not even make the list,” Pence said in a statement.
This story was updated at 7:42 p.m.
Brett Samuels contributed.