Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed his California counterpart for meeting with Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping last week. The 2024 Republican presidential hopeful had an immediate reaction when he saw Democrat Gavin Newsom’s friendly overture to Xi.
DeSantis recalled to the Daily Mail, “When I saw the photos the thing that came to my mind was — you know, these are guys that are two peas in a pod with respect to COVID, draconian COVID policies.”
The Republican told the outlet in Las Vegas that both Newsom and Xi mandated lengthy lockdowns on their people during the pandemic. They further restricted work and school attendance.
DeSantis on Gavin Newsom’s trip to China:
“I saw him over there groveling with Xi Jinping and I thought to myself: These are two guys who locked down their people, violated their rights… They both had really the same playbook with respect to COVID.”pic.twitter.com/tQqY7GYUlg
— Michael P Senger (@michaelpsenger) October 28, 2023
This, DeSantis said, led to many fleeing California for the freedom of the Sunshine State.
The rival governors are scheduled to debate face-to-face next month. They will sit down in Georgia for the event sanctioned by Fox News and moderated by conservative commentator Sean Hannity.
Newsom’s trip to China, DeSantis told the outlet, relayed the wrong message that the U.S. will “grovel” at the feet of the communist dictatorship as East-West tensions continue to escalate.
Newsom has readily apparent presidential aspirations. Many believe he is jockeying for position if Democrats rid themselves of President Joe Biden before next year’s race.
He may also be targeting 2028.
Either way, his was the first visit by a U.S. governor to China in over four years and the first to sit with Xi since 2017. The last to meet with the Chinese president was then-California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Newsom pitched the trip as focused on environmental concerns along with the economy and human rights. This despite the obvious fact that China is one of the world’s major polluters and has a horrific human rights record.
But for the California governor, doubtlessly the trip was to get his picture taken with Xi and give himself credibility on the international stage.
Newsom is far from the first governor to try to buttress his resume and gain respect for more than simply leading a state.
As for DeSantis, he was in Las Vegas to speak to Nevada Republicans at a breakfast gathering on the Strip. After that event, he crossed the street to address the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Summit just weeks after the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.