Ron DeSantis rips Gavin Newsom at press conference

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Ron DeSantis at a bill signing in November. The Governor of Florida chastised Gov. Gavin Newsom for his attack ads that aired July 4, saying Newsom did it — to rub the noses of his citizens for treating them like peasants.

AP file

It appears that California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Florida ad buying has struck a chord.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis devoted several minutes of a Friday press conference to escalating his transnational rivalry with Newsom, a Democrat and outspoken critic of governance in red states like Florida. Both are considered potential presidential candidates.

“I can just tell you this, I was born and raised in this state, and until the last few years I rarely, if ever, saw a California license plate in the state of Florida. now see a lot. I can tell you if you go to California, you don’t see a lot of license plates in Florida,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis’ remarks come less than a week after Newsom unveiled an ad urging Florida residents and businesses to come to California, “where we still believe in freedom.”

During his press conference, DeSantis referred to Newsom’s infamous unmasked dinner at the French Laundry at the height of the pandemic in November 2020. He said the California governor did it “to rub the noses of his citizens on the fact that he treated them as peasants”.

From there, he moved on to California school performance during the pandemic.

“In California, they kicked kids out of school, and they had the lowest … percentage of in-person learning of any state in the country for the 2020-21 school year because the teachers union runs that state. “said DeSantis, citing Burbio.com, a site that aggregates school data.

DeSantis described Los Angeles and San Francisco, where voter concern about crime is a top political issue, as places that have been “destroyed by drugs, crime and homelessness.” He said that in Florida, “we believe that when people commit crimes, they should be behind bars, not out on the streets.”

The Governor of Florida said that while California has seen a drop in tourism during COVID-19, Florida has seen a tourism boom. He added that California’s masking policy and vaccination card requirements are keeping people away from the state.

“Let’s be clear, California is chasing people with its terrible governance,” DeSantis said.

He said California never lost a population until Newsom came to power, “and now they’re hemorrhaging population.”

“It’s almost hard to drive people out of a place like California given all of their natural advantages, and yet they find a way to do it,” DeSantis said.

California’s population has shrunk slightly, in part due to deaths from COVID-19 and federal immigration policy as well as an increase in domestic emigration, according to the California Department of Finance.

In a statement, Newsom’s campaign spokesperson Nathan Click responded:

“For Desantis, ‘freedom’ means that the government forces rape victims to bear the child of their attacker. “Freedom” in Florida means any 18-year-old can buy an AR-15 and unlimited ammo, no questions asked. Governor Desantis’ idea of ​​”freedom” is that 40,000 Floridians die because of the policies he put in place during the pandemic. DeSantis’ view of freedom is simply un-American.

This story was originally published July 8, 2022 2:51 p.m.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He covered crime and politics from the interior of Alaska to the oil patch of North Dakota to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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