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Ron DeSantis suggests RFK Jr. for a role at the FDA or the CDC

The Florida governor indicated he wasn't interested in the Democratic presidential hopeful as a possible running mate, though.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.NBC News / AP; Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that if he’s elected president, he’d be open to considering Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for a position in his administration with either the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DeSantis, a Republican, made the remarks in an interview with the OutKick’s Clay Travis, who asked him about Kennedy as a possible running mate.

DeSantis signaled that he was uninterested in that possibility, noting that Kennedy would be out of step with much of the GOP base on some issues, like climate change.

But DeSantis said he and Kennedy were aligned on medical issues, including their criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was the government’s top infectious disease expert and became an outspoken advocate of Covid-19 prevention measures.

“If you’re president, you know, sic him [Kennedy] on the FDA if he’d be willing to serve, or sic him on CDC. But in terms of being veep — if there is, you know, 70% of the issues that he may be averse to our base on. ... That just creates an issue,” DeSantis said.

The DeSantis campaign didn't immediately reply to a request for additional comment.

But former Vice President Mike Pence, who's also seeking the GOP presidential nomination, responded to his opponent's comments in a tweet.

"When I am President, I will only consider Pro-Life Americans to lead FDA, CDC, or HHS," Pence said, referring to the Department of Health and Human Services. "To be clear, pro-abortion Democrats like RFK, Jr. would not even make the list."

Kennedy, an anti-vaccine activist, recently came under fire for linking Covid-19 and Jewish people, claiming that “Covid-19 attacks certain races disproportionately.” He has also peddled vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories in online videos, some of which have been removed by YouTube.

The interview took place a day after the DeSantis campaign fired a large part of its staff amid spending concerns. DeSantis didn’t directly address the staffing changes, but he detailed broadly how the campaign will be readjusting, including prioritizing his ground game in early voting states.

“We had a campaign for a nationwide election, which will happen eventually, but that’s not how the primaries are, so we’re shifting resources to the early states,” DeSantis said.

According to the latest NBC News poll, former President Donald Trump leads with support from 51% of Republican primary voters, compared with 22% for DeSantis.