Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) said Democrats are striking the right tone against Republicans ahead of the 2024 presidential race as he campaigned for President Joe Biden in South Carolina last week ahead of the Feb. 3 primary.
During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that was broadcast Sunday, Newsom spoke with reporter Jonathan Karl, who referenced a recent remark the governor made about the Democratic Party. While appearing on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” earlier this month, Newsom explained why he debated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in November, saying he felt Democrats weren’t “doing enough.”
“You said you did it because you didn’t think Democrats were fighting hard enough. Does that include the Biden administration?” Karl asked.
“That was a year and a half ago, now I don’t feel that way anymore,” Newsom said.
The California governor added that the Supreme Court’s decision to gut Roe v. Wade was a “wake-up call” for his party, noting that both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been clearly laying out what’s at stake if Donald Trump returns to the White House, including in regard to abortion rights.
“One thing we’ve learned with this anger industry on the right wing side is illusion dominates facts,” Newsom said. “It’s narrative trumping facts. That’s why Trump himself uses the courtroom as a campaign stop. It’s to dominate the narrative. And I would hope that Democrats learn a little bit about communications strategy by flooding the zone and starting to get back on our feet in terms of dominating the narrative.”
“That’s exactly what Biden’s been doing, that’s exactly what Harris has been doing on issues related to choice. And it’s exactly why I’m here,” he added.
Newsom did not shy away from taking on Republicans in the past year. Along with his DeSantis debate, Newsom called out the Republican Party’s efforts to dehumanize immigrants and enforce book bans, among other things. He also launched a super PAC called Campaign for Democracy to “expose and fight rising authoritarianism across the nation.”
Elsewhere during his “This Week” appearance, Newsom also said that while the prospect of a Trump victory in November 2024 should give everyone pause given the clear danger he posed to democracy, the former president is still a weak candidate.
“I’m not naive about this. I take the threat of Trump and Trumpism very seriously. I’ve never been on the other side of that argument. That said, this is the weakest candidate to run a major party in my lifetime. He’s coming in deeply damaged,” he said.
Trump, however, remains the clear favorite to win the GOP primary. He is projected to defeat his rival, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, in her home state of South Carolina by over 33 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.