Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman suggested California Governor Gavin Newsom didn’t have the “guts” to announce his bid for higher office in 2024.
Newsom has been highly speculated to seek the presidency in 2024 despite insisting he will defer to a second term for President Joe Biden. The California governor has also insisted Vice President Kamala Harris was “naturally the one lined up” to seek the presidency after Biden’s tenure in office ends.
During a stop at an Iowa event, Fetterman suggested Newsom was running for higher office despite throwing support behind the incumbent Democratic president.
“There are two additional Democrats running for … president right now,” Fetterman said, according to NBC News. “One is a congressman from Minnesota, the other one is the governor of California, but only one has the guts to announce it.”
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Saturday evening criticized California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and accused him of secretly running for president while speaking at an Iowa Democratic Party dinner. https://t.co/Cw5o22vjVd
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) November 5, 2023
The other Democratic presidential candidate Fetterman referred to is Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, who launched his primary campaign against Biden last month.
Entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy also suggested Newsom was in fact seeking higher office during a campaign stop in Iowa last month.
“The man is running for president,” Ramaswamy said of Newsom. “Doing it in disguise, doing it with a track record at a state that is more disastrous by the day.”
In late September, Fox News’ Pete Hegseth pressed the California governor about whether he will launch a presidential campaign.
“Do you feel like Biden’s holding you back from running?” Hegseth asked to which Newsom asked if he was kidding.
“I’m enthusiastically passionate about promoting the Biden, not only agenda, but the great implementation, which is his second term and having his back, character, decency,” Newsom said. “And I’m an old-fashioned guy, I believe in a little loyalty.”
Newsom is scheduled to debate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seeking the Republican nomination, on Nov. 30.
The California governor said DeSantis “took the bait” by agreeing to debate him later this year.
“Why is he debating a guy who’s not even running for President when he’s running for President?” Newsom told Fox 11’s Elex Michaelson during a late-September interview.
Newsom initially challenged DeSantis to a debate last September after former CBS anchor Dan Rather suggested it would garner “big ratings,” though the Florida governor did not respond.
During a June interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, the California governor renewed his challenge, saying he was “all in” for a debate with the Florida governor. DeSantis told Newsom to “stop pussyfooting around” and suggested the California governor should “throw [his] hat in the ring and primary President Biden in the 2024 presidential election.”
DeSantis accepted Newsom’s year-long debate offer in August.