Kennedy cover-up: Failing to disclose a brain-eating worm and other problems

Throughout his career, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has made controversial, inflammatory and sometimes untrue statements that have ticked off folks on the left and right.

Whether he’s declaring you’re more likely to be murdered in red states or waging his anti-vaccine crusade, the senator’s son is conducting something of an oddball campaign.

Yet with his magic last name, which undoubtedly makes some voters think he’s still a Democrat, he’s polling at about 8 to 10%. That, if it holds up, puts him into serious spoiler territory.

But now it turns out that Kennedy has been hiding serious medical conditions.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaking into a microphone

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. hosts a fireside chat with rapper and producer Eric B. at The Gentleman’s Factory on February 18, 2024, in New York City. (John Nacion/Getty Images)

When I first saw the New York Times headline on this, I assumed the independent candidate was belatedly disclosing these problems. Nope, not at all. The story was based on digging by reporter Susanne Craig.

Based on a deposition from 2012, RFK Jr. was called by a doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital after physicians had noticed a dark spot on his brain scans, and he had complained of memory loss and a mental fogginess. This doctor said he believed Kennedy had a dead parasite in his head.

The abnormality, RFK recalled the doctor telling him, “was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to know whether a presidential candidate had part of his brain eaten by a worm.

It’s a stunning bit of information, deeply unsettling, and obviously subject to mockery. He told the Times months ago that he had recovered from the memory loss without treatment.

The cavalier failure to disclose this, and other ailments, raises disturbing questions about hiding health issues from the public.

RFK had contacted some of the same neurologists who had treated or spoken to his uncle, Ted Kennedy, before he died of brain cancer the previous year.

There’s more. Not only has RFK suffered from atrial fibrillation for decades, he’s been hospitalized four times for the irregular heartbeat. He told the Times in that earlier interview that he hasn’t had an A-fib incident for more than 10 years.


And Kennedy has also been diagnosed with mercury poisoning. He blamed that on eating too much fish tainted by the metal. That, too, can cause serious neurological issues.

This should not be a one-day story. No one should interview RFK without bringing up the failure to disclose these serious medical problems.

The Kennedy campaign refused to release his medical records. Unfortunately, the Joe Biden and Donald Trump teams have done the same during this campaign.

The paper notes that RFK goes out of his way to project a vigorous image, skiing with an Olympic gold medalist and lifting weights shirtless. Good for him. But perhaps that masks his real condition.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. using his hands as he speaks

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a Cesar Chavez Day event at Union Station on March 30, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A spokeswoman for Kennedy, 70, asked if his health problems might make him unfit for office, said “that is a hilarious suggestion, given the competition” – an obvious shot at the 81-year-old Biden and 77-year-old Trump.


Some past presidents have hidden serious medical problems, including JFK, who suffered from Addison’s disease, or malfunctioning adrenal glands that produce vital hormones, and debilitating back pain that initially kept him out of the military. But standards have changed and more candor is expected from candidates.

JFK file

In this Feb. 27, 1959 file photo, Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass., is shown in his office in Washington. (AP Photo, File)

The only reason we know about his nephew’s problems is the deposition that came during his divorce from his second wife. RFK was arguing that his earning ability had declined because of his cognitive problems.


The question: Is this sort of subterfuge acceptable from a major candidate?

Footnote: Nicole Shanahan, Kennedy’s running mate and a tech entrepreneur picked to help finance the campaign, hasn’t done any interviews since she was tapped. Does this amount to the same kind of secrecy?