RFK Jr. Suffers Gaffe of His Own as He Names Wrong Iranian Leader

Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose pitch to voters has centered around his relative youth and mental sharpness, made a gaffe of his own Sunday when he suggested that whoever wins the White House in November should be sitting down with a laundry list of authoritarian leaders from around the world—including former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has not held office in more than 10 years.

“We need to be sitting down with other world leaders, with people like President Xi and President Putin and President Ahmadinejad, the prime minister, all the people—we can’t afford to be at war anymore,” Kennedy said during a speech focusing on artificial intelligence technology.

The timing of RFK Jr.’s gaffe was also unfortunate—coming just hours after news that the current president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, was involved in a helicopter crash near the country’s border with Azerbaijan. It was later reported that Raisi died in the incident.

Ahmadinejad, a major cheerleader for Iran’s controversial nuclear program, left office in August 2013, and was succeeded by Hassan Rouhani.

The Kennedy campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

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The 70-year-old independent candidate has for months sought to make light of his rivals’ age and tendency toward similar gaffes, despite recent questions about his own physical and mental health.

Earlier this month it was revealed that he admitted in a 2012 deposition that he previously suffered from a rare parasitic worm that “got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died.”

In responding to the story, however, Kennedy’s spokesperson instead pointed to his opponents’ mental stamina. President Joe Biden is 81 and Donald Trump is 77.

“The issue was resolved more than 10 years ago and he is in robust physical and mental health. Questioning Mr Kennedy’s health is a hilarious suggestion, given his competition,” the campaign said in a statement.

He later made light of the issue in a post on X.

“I offer to eat five more brain worms and still beat President Trump and President Biden in a debate,” Kennedy wrote. “I feel confident of the result even with a six-worm handicap.”

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