Donald Trump praised Democratic presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a “very smart person.” The comment was made in light of Kennedy’s controversial stances on vaccine safety and the war in Ukraine.

“He’s a very smart person,” said Trump on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures. “I know a lot of the members of that family, and he’s a very smart guy. And he’s a little bit of a nerve. And a lot of Democrats I know want to vote for him.”

Kennedy announced his campaign for the presidency in April. Despite running as a registered Democrat, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy has faced criticism over his skepticism of the Covid-19 vaccine. He has claimed that the virus was “ethnically targeted.”

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“Covid-19 attacks certain races disproportionately,” said Kennedy in a video that was first released by the New York Post. “Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

The video invited scrutiny from several Jewish groups and Democratic lawmakers. Kennedy’s right-leaning views on vaccines are not new, as he is known for his anti-vaccine efforts amid the 2019 measles outbreak in Samoa.

While Kennedy has done surprisingly well in the early polls, strategists have concluded that his popularity is largely based on name recognition. His takes on vaccines, gun control and the war in Ukraine do not align with those of Democrats, and President Joe Biden has maintained a significant lead.

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