NewsNationalScripps News


Calif. Gov. Newsom: DeSantis is 'off the ball,' GOP rivals 'JV team'

California Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke to reporters ahead of the second debate for Republican candidates racing for the 2024 White House.
Calif Gov Newsom: DeSantis is 'off the ball,' GOP rivals 'JV team'
Posted at 7:49 PM, Sep 27, 2023

Republican presidential candidates focused on how they would spend their first days if made the GOP nominee and possibly elected president in the 2024 race for the White House on Wednesday night.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered a scalding perspective on what he sees as simply "JV team" level competitors to former President Donald Trump. 

Trump was not on the debate stage Wednesday night, apart from a mention during the event's short introduction. 

The former president is doing so well in the polls, it has been part of speculation and analysis among politicos that he doesn't feel the need to participate before the primaries. 

The most scathing criticism of the current candidates for GOP nominee didn't come from the rivals to Trump — it came just before the debate started from Gov. Newsom. 

As he spoke to reporters, Newsom, a Democrat, told reporters, while supporting his party, "um, well clearly Joe Biden walks away with this debate." 

President Biden announced in late April that he will seek reelection. 

"And then Donald Trump," Newsom said, speaking of his view that the GOP nominee opponents won't catch up to the former president. 

"It's just the JV team," Newsom labeled the other candidates on Wednesday's debate stage. "These guys are maybe running for vice president."

"I said it, because I'm a big NFL fan — this is the XFL," referring to the American minor league football league. 

SEE MORE: GOP 2024 candidates face Trump's popularity entering second debate

In one of Gov. Newsom's answers to reporters he delivered a particularly searing critique of the campaign strategy of his counterpart in the state of Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

Newsom said, "I don't know why he's debating a governor of California," as he runs for the Republican nomination, he appeared to highlight.

The California governor said, "That is so disqualifying on his behalf."

Newsom said, "He put out an ad today, not about this debate for president. An ad about debating me."

He said, "This guy's eye is so off the ball, that it really makes you wonder ... oh wait, it doesn't make you wonder why he's belly flopped in the polls. It actually makes sense."

Gov. Newsom and Gov. DeSantis will face off in a televised debate on Fox News on Nov. 30. The event will be moderated by Sean Hannity.

Trending stories at