Governors Newsom and DeSantis exchange blows over the future of the USA

The governors of two of the largest US states have exchanged blows over the future of the country. The Republican Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and his Democratic colleague Gavin Newsom from California met in person for the first time on Thursday in a television duel broadcast by Fox News – and did not take kindly to each other’s policies. Both politicians are considered possible presidential candidates for their parties in 2028.

The 45-year-old DeSantis is already applying for the Republican Party’s candidacy for the 2024 presidential election. However, he is given only a slim chance in a duel with former President Donald Trump. The 56-year-old Newsom recently fueled speculation about a possible candidacy in the election in five years through his appearances for US President Joe Biden.

There has been a heated argument between the two governors for months because DeSantis is flying undocumented migrants to California and Newsom has heavily criticized Florida’s six-week abortion ban, calling it the “most extreme” in the United States.

DeSantis urged US citizens on Thursday to choose “freedom over failure” and accused Newsom of being “inseparable” from President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. He accused the latter of wanting to transfer the “California model” to the entire USA, which would be “catastrophic for the working population”.

Newsom accused DeSantis of using “education as a sword for your cultural cleansing” in light of the banning of certain books from Florida’s libraries. He also criticized the Republican for doing “nothing meaningful” on the issue of gun safety after the Parkland school massacre that left 17 dead in 2018.

The Republican attacked his Democratic opponent on the issues of immigration, health care and crime. Newsom’s “left-wing policies” have hurt Californian cities like San Francisco. He also pointed out the high gasoline and sales tax rates in California. Newsom countered that poorer people in Florida pay more taxes than rich Californians.

The 90-minute debate took place in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia – once a Republican bastion but which has become one of the hotly contested swing states in recent years.

Moderator Sean Hannity, an avowed Trump supporter, had promised neutrality in the run-up to the debate, but chose topics, especially at the beginning, that would have appealed to the station’s conservative viewers.

DeSantis seemed more comfortable in the duel with his Democratic opponent than in the televised Republican debates, where he often appeared reserved and awkward. Newsom defended Biden’s economic policy and pointed to the positive developments in the labor market.