RFK Jr. Gave Conflicting Stories About His Brain Worm

Mark Makela/Reuters
Mark Makela/Reuters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has given conflicting explanations on how he learned about a worm that he said implanted in his brain—one of the strangest stories in the presidential race so far.

In a 2012 deposition during his divorce negotiations, Kennedy said he was suffering from cognitive issues, including brain fog, which he seemed to blame on the parasite. For the purposes of the divorce, he argued that the maladies had reduced his “earning power,” according to The New York Times.

As the Times reported on Wednesday, Kennedy said that several neurologists originally believed he had a brain tumor after discovering “a dark spot” on his scans. He planned to have an operation at Duke University Medical Center, the outlet said. But at the last moment, “he received a call from a doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital” who believed that Kennedy “had a dead parasite in his head.”

In an interview with a small YouTube channel on Wednesday, after the Times piece was published, Kennedy laughed about the situation while offering a different set of facts.

The second story began in a similar way: Several doctors believed Kennedy had a brain tumor, and he was scheduled to fly to Duke for surgery, he said. Then the stories diverged. Kennedy told the YouTube outlet that he went to pick up images of his scans at Columbia Presbyterian in New York the day before flying to North Carolina.

There, he happened to encounter “this young Irish doctor who was a neurosurgeon who was sitting in the room, and he and I started talking with each other.”

“I said, ‘I got this tumor in my brain,’” Kennedy recalled.

The doctor asked to see his scans. “They put them up on the light board, and he looked at it for a long, long time. And then he said, ‘I don't think you've earned a surgery.’”

The doctor asked Kennedy to monitor growth of the supposed tumor for “a couple of weeks.” When it didn’t grow, they repeated the process, until eventually they concluded “that this is almost certainly a parasite that got into your brain.”

Kennedy’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a post to X after the Times story came out, Kennedy downplayed the situation. “I offer to eat 5 more brain worms and still beat President Trump and President Biden in a debate,” he wrote, later adding, “I feel confident in the result even with a six-worm handicap.”

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