Florida Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday challenged his Florida counterpart, Ron DeSantis, in a televised debate, adding to his criticism of Republican governors’ mass transfer of immigrants to liberal strongholds as “reprehensible” and possibly illegal.
“Hey [DeSantis]You’re obviously struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives.” Newsom tweeted Friday afternoon. “Since you only have one basic need – attention – let’s take this and discuss it. I’ll get my hair gel. Bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day.”
On Wednesday evening, DeSantis sent a group of about 50 immigrants by plane to Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts playground for wealthy liberals. On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott moved a group of about 100 immigrants to the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C., ramping up a tactic that Republican governors have used in recent months to protest illegal immigration.
“Like millions of Americans, I was horrified by the images of immigrants being shipped on buses and planes across the country to be used as political support,” Newsom said in a letter Thursday to US Atty. General Merrick Garland, urged the Department of Justice to investigate DeSantis’ actions.
Newsom said some immigrants said they were falsely told they would be transferred to Boston, where they could obtain work permits.
When asked about the message during Friday’s event, DeSantis answered sarcastically about Newsom’s hair.
“I think his hair gel is interfering with his brain function,” he said.
Newsom took the opportunity to address his challenge to DeSantis, sharing a tweet in August in which former CBS News anchor Dan Rather raised the idea of a possible prime-time discussion between the two governors, both of whom he believed harbored presidential ambitions.
“I bet the ratings are going to be huge. Who has the guts to come in?” he said instead, publishing an article on Friday calling DeSantis and Abbott immigrants a “shameful stunt.”
DeSantis did not respond publicly until Friday evening.
For months, Newsom used to compare California politics with those of Texas and Florida.
This summer, his re-election campaign launched a television ad in Florida criticizing that state’s restrictive abortion policies and the law banning instructions about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
“I urge all of you who live in Florida to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom from hate and freedom to love,” Newsom said in the ad. .
Newsom has repeatedly denied that he is considering running for president, but many political observers are skeptical, especially as he sets his sights on DeSantis, the likely 2024 Republican Party nominee.