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Biden, Harris Advisors Call Newsom’s Plan to Debate DeSantis “Disrespectful”

White House advisors worry that some voters may see Newsom as a shadow presidential candidate as he seeks to boost his image and spar with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Political advisors for both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are reportedly irritated that California Governor Gavin Newsom has agreed to debate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

According to a report by NBC News, advisors have begun to view Newsom as a nuisance and are calling his plans to debate DeSantis “disrespectful.”


“Joe Biden is running with Kamala Harris,” one advisor said, according to NBC News. “That’s the Democratic ticket.”

Strategists say the planned debate could make some voters believe that Newsom is running a shadow campaign against Biden in 2024. But some say the debate might help Biden’s chances of reelection.

“What he’s doing here is appropriate for a surrogate,” a Biden advisor said, according to NBC News. “It would not be appropriate for the president or the vice president... this is the kind of thing we want surrogates to do.”


White House advisors have likely considered Newsom’s motives as he seeks to boost his image, contrasting with DeSantis and his record in Florida. In June, Newsom challenged DeSantis to a live debate after a dozen migrants from the Texas border were flown to Sacramento by Florida officials.

“He’s got huge problems in his state,” DeSantis said initially. But by early August, DeSantis said he would “absolutely” participate in a debate.

“I’m game,” DeSantis told Sean Hannity. “Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where. We’ll do it.”

The debate between the two governors could also boost DeSantis, allowing him to contrast his success in Florida with Newsom’s policies in California. Both governors agreed they were available in November, but a specific date has not been set.

During an interview after Wednesday’s Republican debate, Sean Hannity told DeSantis his team is looking for a venue that would suit both governors. DeSantis proposed Georgia or Iowa, while Newsom suggested Georgia, Nevada or North Carolina.

Last year, reports surfaced that Biden was tracking Newsom’s political activity, concerned that he might seek to run for president in 2024. But Newsom later told then-White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain that he was “not interested” in pursuing a bid in 2024.