DeSantis and Newsom Feud in the Shadow of 2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom escalated their feud ahead of possible 2024 bids by the prominent governors.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom escalated their feud ahead of possible 2024 bids by the prominent governors. The two governors engaged in a heated back and forth over DeSantis’ migrant transport policy.

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott pioneered the policy of transporting interested migrants to solidly Democratic areas, and in recent days Abbott and DeSantis have transported migrants to Chicago, Martha’s Vineyard, and Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in Washington, D.C.
  • Gov. DeSantis said Friday the two flights he chartered to Martha’s Vineyard were “just the beginning” of his migrant relocation efforts.
  • Gov. Newsom then wrote a letter to the Justice Department asking DOJ to investigate whether DeSantis’ policy could be considered an illegal kidnapping and called the Florida governor a “disgrace.”
  • DeSantis responded to the California Democrat’s DOJ letter with a personal jab: “All I can say is I think his hair gel is interfering with his brain function.”
  • Newsom then challenged the Florida Republican to a debate on the migrant transports in a tweet. “Hey [Gov. Ron DeSantis], clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives,” Newsom said. “Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let’s take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day.”
  • Governor Newsom and Governor DeSantis are both favored to win reelection in November. Both are reportedly considering bids for the White House in 2024 or 2028.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • CNN called the back-and-forth the “sensational debut” of the 2024 presidential campaign and charted their shadowboxing and jostling for prominence that dates back to the early days of the pandemic.
  • CBS News wrote DeSantis’ decision to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard was a “publicity stunt” but treated Newsom’s Twitter debate offer and kidnapping allegations as a serious “challenge” to the Florida Republican.
  • Yahoo! News reiterated the DeSantis-Newsom feud is really about one thing: the 2024 presidential election.



  • Breitbart noted Newsom apparently suggested CNN be the debate monitor and speculated that Dan Rather may have been the inspiration for the debate challenge after he tweeted about the idea in August.
  • National Review reported on the contretemps over “hair gel” and Newsom’s “kidnapping” allegations in greater detail.
  • Fox News covered Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s response to the controversy. Abbott said, “We have a president who has refused to go see the chaos that he’s created on the border and a border czar, Kamala Harris, who’s refused to say what’s going on the border. If they will not go to the border, we’re taking the border to them, so they can see the challenges they’re imposing to the entire United States of America.”

Author’s Take

On paper, Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom are formidable contenders for the presidential nomination of their respective party. The governors of two of America’s three most populous states command outsized media attention, are ideologically in step with their party’s bases, and would be able to campaign on their governing experience.

However, two superannuated U.S. Presidents stand in their way. President Joe Biden is expected to seek reelection despite his poor poll numbers and status as America’s oldest president. Likewise, former President Donald Trump is expected to mount his third presidential bid to avenge his 2020 defeat.

Both DeSantis and Newsom represent a generational change after three decades of Baby Boomer presidents. Both men can clearly articulate their ideological vision for the country, a skill that both the current and former President have struggled with. Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom look like likely future presidential candidates. The only question is when.

Return to Freespoke

© Dominic Moore, 2022

1 comments On DeSantis and Newsom Feud in the Shadow of 2024

Comments are closed.