Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Hires Former Ramaswamy Official for TikTok 'Influencer' Campaign

L-R: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Vivek Ramaswamy (Getty Images, Reuters).
May 6, 2024

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign is paying a communications firm led by a former Vivek Ramaswamy staffer to recruit TikTok influencers in a likely attempt to sway Republican voters.

Kennedy’s campaign in March paid nearly $10,000 to Total Virality LLC for "Influencer Engagement," federal records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show. The firm is run by Zachery Henry, who served as deputy director of communications for Ramaswamy’s failed 2024 presidential campaign. Henry also briefly served as communications director for Arizona venture capitalist Blake Masters’s Senate bid.

The payments offer a look into Kennedy’s electoral strategy. The scion of a Democratic dynasty and lifelong Democrat himself, Kennedy’s embrace of gun control and affirmative action have the Democratic National Committee fretting he will siphon liberal voters. In a post on Truth Social last month, former president Donald Trump called Kennedy "far more LIBERAL than anyone running as a Democrat."

But Kennedy’s insurgent candidacy—particularly his skepticism of vaccines—has appealed to Republicans as well. An April Quinnipiac poll showed likely Kennedy voters prefer Trump over President Joe Biden by double digits. Kennedy has said, "I take more votes from President Trump than I do from President Biden."

It is unclear exactly what Total Virality’s "Influencer Engagement" strategy entails. But Henry, an architect of Ramaswamy’s TikTok-heavy presidential run, frequently reposts pro-Kennedy messages from verified influencers on X. Many of these posts attack Trump and celebrate Kennedy’s stance on issues related to vaccine skepticism or the recently passed TikTok divestment bill, which he opposes.

Henry declined to offer specifics about Total Virality’s work for the Kennedy campaign, telling the Free Beacon,"I worked with RFK on one project, I don’t disclose my influencers, and I’m no longer working with Mr. Ramaswamy."

Ramaswamy’s campaign—which ended when he received less than 8 percent of the vote at the Iowa primary—touched on many of the same themes as Kennedy’s. Like RFK Jr., Ramaswamy expressed skepticism about the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines.

Ramaswamy came under fire for pushing the anti-Semitic "great replacement" theory, which holds that a global cabal, often thought to include Jews, is working to replace the white race. Throughout his campaign, Kennedy has worked to distance himself from Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader whom Kennedy once praised as a "truly great partner" for pushing the claim that vaccines cause autism.

Still, it remains to be seen if Kennedy can shake off his Democratic baggage. He campaigned for then-senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2008 and said he is a "huge admirer of Bernie Sanders" in 2016. That same year, he endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In 2020, Kennedy praised Democrats for having a "better environmental platform" than Trump. He has praised the progressive "Green New Deal" as "important" legislation.

Left-wing groups including Clear Choice and American Bridge have funded ads and opposition research against Kennedy, who has qualified to appear on the ballot in Michigan, California, and Utah. Last month, members of the Kennedy clan appeared alongside President Biden at a campaign event in Philadelphia, a sign of the White House’s growing nervousness about RFK Jr.’s candidacy.