WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis rejected the notion of making Democrat environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. his running mate Wednesday, but expressed openness to working with him in a more limited capacity to investigate the medical bureaucracy.
Late into an hour-long interview on OutKick, host Clay Travis asked DeSantis about the possibility of choosing for his vice president Kennedy, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and son of the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy, a longtime environmental activist and founder of the group Children’s Health Defense, who is currently running a long-shot bid for the Democrat presidential nomination.
DeSantis shot down the suggestion, citing Kennedy’s longstanding hostility to so-called “climate deniers” and his recent condemnation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down racial quotas in college admissions, while acknowledging alignment with the heterodox Democrat on one issue.
“There’s a whole host of other things he might be out of step with. So in that regard, if you’re president, sic him on the FDA if he’d be willing to serve, or sic him on CDC,” the governor said. “But in terms of being veep, there’s 70% of the issues he might be averse to our base on.”
The comment drew criticism on social media, based in part on initial reports falsely suggesting DeSantis had endorsed making Kennedy the director of either agency. But the comment also reinforced DeSantis’s self-framing as the Republican most serious about dismantling and reforming the public health establishment.
DeSantis, whose national reputation is based in large part on the success of his rejecting lockdowns in 2020, seeks to make COVID one of the main points of contrast between himself and former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the nomination.
Despite his far-left views, Kennedy enjoys support along non-traditional lines and even among some conservatives for his harsh criticism of COVID-19 lockdowns, mandates, and vaccines, to the point that there is some overlap between fans of Kennedy and fans of Trump, whose administration initially recommended the lockdowns and who embraces the vaccines to this day.
As the former president who for months was the only declared major candidate, Trump holds a durable and commanding lead in national polls for the GOP nomination, although DeSantis has the edge in fundraising and is expected to be competitive in the early states with the help of an ambitious ground operation. Voting in the Republican primaries does not begin until next January with the Iowa caucuses.