Struggling GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has walked back his suggestion that he’d appoint anti-vax conspiracist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lead either the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The “embarrassingly bad” proposal was met with widespread criticism, including from many of his supporters. Speaking to reporters while campaigning in Iowa on Friday, DeSantis “clarified” that he agreed with Kennedy’s stance on COVID lockdowns and his disdain for Dr. Anthony Fauci. “But that’s different than people saying, ‘Oh, appoint him [Kennedy] to the CDC director.’ No, I’m going to have …a PhD in that position, of course,” he said, according to The Messenger. Separately, he told ex-Fox News star Megyn Kelly that he merely meant he’d name Kennedy—who is running for president as a Democrat—to a “bipartisan task force” on the handling of the pandemic, saying that’s why he used the phrase “sic him.” “I’ve also promised to bring a reckoning to all the medical bureaucracies for how they handled COVID,” he later told MAGA network Newsmax.
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