Ron DeSantis to Debate Gavin Newsom on Fox News
Florida Governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has agreed to a televised debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom (D). Newsome, who is not yet a contender in the 2024 election, issued the challenge after the idea to debate DeSantis was presented to him by Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity.
“Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives,” tweeted Newsom. “Since you have only one overriding need – attention – let’s take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray.”
For months, Newsom has loudly criticized Republican governors including DeSantis and Greg Abbott (R-TX) over policies concerning school curricula, gun control, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and abortion. A new history curricula on slavery that was introduced by DeSantis also earned condemnation from Vice President Kamala Harris (D), who rejected his invitation to debate her on the topic and traveled all the way to Florida to deliver her criticism in person.
We can expect these divisive issues to illicit explosive commentary during the debate, which will be moderated by Sean Hannity.
“The debate between California and Florida has already been had,” said DeSantis last week. “People have been voting on that; they’ve been voting on it with their feet. They have fled California in record numbers. Florida has been the number-one state for net-in migration. We have the number-one ranked economy; number-one now in education; crime rate at a 50-year low.”
These shifts are directly related to the governors’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic. While Newsom enforced draconian policies that resulted in massive economic damage and unnecessary death, DeSantis implemented lax restrictions that left a majority of Florida virtually unharmed.
“This is the debate for the future of our country,” continued DeSantis. “Because you have people like Joe Biden – they would love to see the Californication of the United States. Biden may not even be the nominee. You could have Gavin Newsom; you could have Kamala Harris. And I think if we go down that direction, that’s going to accelerate American decline. We can’t see America decline any more. We need to reverse American decline.”
DeSantis currently stands in second place with 18.1% of the vote behind Trump with 53.9%. Ideally, the debate will provide a unique opportunity for him to distinguish himself and his campaign from the former president.
DeSantis was a strong Trump supporter throughout his presidency, but has tried to put some distance between the two of them following the events of January 6th, 2021 and the resulting legal battles in which Trump now finds himself.
As both governors prepare for the debate, DeSantis aide Andrew Romeo says his team is looking forward to “laying out the clear contrast between Newsom’s model for American decline and Governor DeSantis’ vision for our Great American Comeback.”
The 90-minute event is scheduled to take place in early November in Georgia, Nevada, or North Carolina. Governor Newsom’s office has asked that it be held without a live audience.