Gavin Newsom's decision to take part in a debate with Ron DeSantis has been met with mixed reactions in the White House. While the Biden campaign said it endorsed the event, an adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris called the move "disrespectful."
The California governor and rumored Democratic presidential candidate is set to debate his Republican Floridian counterpart, with Fox News' Sean Hannity moderating. An exact date has not yet been set.
According to NBC News, while a number of Biden advisers expressed concern over the proposed event, some said it was acceptable given Newsom's relatively low polling numbers.
"What he's doing here is appropriate for a surrogate," one adviser said. It would not be appropriate for the president or the vice president. We're in close touch with him."
The president's reelection campaign also referred to Newsom as "a strong partner and surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign," with spokesperson Kevin Munoz saying that they "coordinate closely on campaigning, whether it's fundraising or media."
"When he brought the debate idea to us, we endorsed it," Munoz added.
Harris' team was less supportive of the idea. One outside adviser even went so far as to call Newsom's actions "disrespectful."
"Joe Biden is running with Kamala Harris," he stated. "That's the Democratic ticket."A recent poll conducted by Premise asked Democrats who they would prefer to see as the nominee if Biden chooses not to run in 2024. Of the 1,651 respondents, 23 percent said Kamala Harris, 14 percent said Hillary Clinton, and 13 percent said Bernie Sanders. Just 10 percent put their support behind Newsom.
The idea for a debate was first floated in June when Newsom appeared on Hannity. He asked the California governor if he'd go head to head with DeSantis, to which he replied, "I'm all in. Count on it."
DeSantis responded in kind, saying, "Absolutely. I'm game. Let's get it done. Just tell me when and where. We'll do it."
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