A spokesperson for California Gov. Gavin Newsom trashed GOP presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ counteroffer for a debate as a ‘joke.’ 

‘What a joke,’ Newsom spokesperson Nathan Click said in a statement to Politico Saturday. ‘DeSantis’ counterproposal is littered with crutches to hide his insecurity and ineptitude — swapping opening statements with a hype video, cutting down the time he needs to be on stage, adding cheat notes and a cheering section.’

‘Ron should be able to stand on his own two feet,’ Click added. ‘It’s no wonder Trump is kicking his a–.’

Newsom, who has sparked 2024 presidential speculation but has said he would not run against fellow Democrat President Biden, has repeatedly challenged DeSantis to debate on varying issues, first last September regarding the migrants flights to the Massachusetts liberal enclave of Martha’s Vineyard, a move that forced discussion on sanctuary immigration policies. 

Newsom told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in June that he was ‘all in’ for a debate against the Florida governor. Last week, DeSantis told Hannity he agreed to the possible debate as well. 

‘Absolutely. I’m game. Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where – we’ll do it,’ DeSantis said Wednesday. ‘In one respect, the debate between California and Florida has already been had. People have been voting on that. They have been voting on that with their feet. They have fled California in record numbers. Florida has been the number one state for net in migration. We have the number one ranked economy, number one in education. Crime rate now at a 50-year low.’ 

‘This is the debate for the future of our country. Because you have people like Joe Biden. They would love to see the Californication of the United States. Biden may not even be the nominee. You could have Gavin Newsom. You could have Kamala Harris. And I think if we go down that direction, that’s going to accelerate American decline.’ 

Vice President Harris recently declined to debate DeSantis regarding Florida’s curriculum on slavery. 

The Hill reported that Newsom’s team sent a proposal for a possible debate last week. According to Politico, DeSantis’ camp responded Friday with a counterproposal where each participant would provide a two-minute video ‘to make the case for their governing philosophy’ in place of opening remarks. 

DeSantis’ team also proposed the 90-minute debate be before a live audience as opposed to an empty room. The intro video would be approved by Fox News, and as sole moderator Sean Hannity would maintain equal time, according to the memo cited by Politico. 

Newsom and DeSantis’ teams seemed to have both agreed on possible dates and locations for the debate, including Georgia and Nov. 8 in their prospective proposals.

Fox News is hosting the first GOP presidential primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23. Former President Donald Trump, who has not committed to participating, teased last week that the debate could help him narrow down his choices for a vice presidential running mate. 

Trump was leading DeSantis by 37 percentage points in a recent national poll released last week, with no other Republican 2024 contenders polling above 3%. 


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