Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, has sparked unease within the White House due to his intention to engage in a debate with Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. According to reports, some key political advisers of President Joe Biden view the upcoming debate, moderated by Sean Hannity, as a distraction from the ongoing Biden-Harris campaign.
Newsom, who endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid earlier in the year, has consistently maintained that he has no ambitions to run for the presidency during the 2024 election. Despite Newsom’s assurance, there are still apprehensions within Biden’s inner circle that this debate could inadvertently help DeSantis’ campaign. Initially, Biden’s campaign team considered DeSantis a stronger challenger to the incumbent’s re-election bid than Donald Trump.
An adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris expressed discontent, calling it disrespectful since Joe Biden is running alongside Harris on the Democratic ticket. A member of Biden’s team expressed worry about how the debate might appear visually, suggesting that it may come across as if Newsom was trying to protect Harris, who couldn’t defend herself, or that he was seeking attention by getting into a fight.
Nonetheless, some believe the debate could have potential advantages within the Biden administration. Some see this as an opportunity for Newsom, regarded as one of Biden’s most effective campaign surrogates, to weaken DeSantis’ position through a strong performance. An unnamed Biden adviser expressed support for Newsom’s stance, characterizing it as appropriate for a surrogate and praising Newsom’s willingness to confront DeSantis and share his donor list.
Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for Biden’s campaign, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing, “Governor Newsom is a valuable partner and representative for the Biden-Harris campaign.” If the debate between the two governors occurs, it is expected to delve into various policy disparities. Possible topics for discussion encompass immigration, crime, and education. The idea for the debate originated during an interview with Hannity, where Newsom issued the challenge, which DeSantis subsequently accepted on social media.
DeSantis responded, saying, “Absolutely. I’m game. Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where,” adding, “We’ll do it.” Newsom’s challenge to DeSantis emerged after months of high-profile clashes between the two governors. Their divergent political stances appear to mirror the vastness of the country that separates them.