We’re seeing more heat than light in the ongoing feud between Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. This political tussle revolving around differences in policies, notably abortion and gun laws, has been cooking for months and shows no signs of simmering down.
DeSantis stirred the pot when he orchestrated migrant flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last September, a move that had Democrats including the White House crying foul. The rivalry escalated when DeSantis, who has now thrown his hat into the ring for the 2024 GOP nomination, organized another migrant flight — this time, directly to California.
DeSantis chose to keep his cards close to his chest, not admitting to his ploy until a week after 16 migrants were deposited at the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. This mysterious drop-off left Newsom wondering whether he was dealing with a case of kidnapping.
When questioned about his decision to organize the flight, DeSantis stuck to his guns, not directly responding to Newsom’s pointed criticism. Meanwhile, the California governor ordered an investigation into DeSantis’ actions, saying, “The buck should stop with Ron DeSantis and the games he’s playing.”
But DeSantis isn’t one to back down easily. Instead, he’s fired back, challenging Newsom to step up to the plate and run for president himself.
On Thursday, DeSantis had a message for his Democratic counterpart, saying, “He has a real serious fixation on the state of Florida… What I would tell him is, you know what — stop pussyfooting around.”
The Florida governor continued his challenge, questioning Newsom’s intentions: “Are you going to throw your hat in the ring and challenge Joe? Are you going to get in and do it? Or are you just going to sit on the sidelines?”
To top it off, the DeSantis campaign Twitter account, Team DeSantis, got in on the action, tweeting a link to purchase T-shirts emblazoned with a photo of DeSantis and the words: “STOP PUSSYFOOTING AROUND.”
This tit-for-tat feud between DeSantis and Newsom is a reminder of the ever-present political theater. However, one has to wonder how their energies could be better spent if they were focused on issues directly impacting their constituents, instead of engaging in headline-grabbing disputes.