Biden, Harris advisers irked by Newsom’s plan to debate DeSantis: ‘Disrespectful’

Proposed debate between DeSantis, Newsom would be hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Political advisers to both President Biden and Vice President Harris were reportedly annoyed with Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom over a planned debate with the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 Republican presidential hopeful.

“It’s disrespectful,” an outside adviser to Harris said, according to a report from NBC News on Sunday. “Joe Biden is running with Kamala Harris. That’s the Democratic ticket.”

The adviser is one of several in the Biden and Harris orbit that have begun to view Newsom as a nuisance, according to the report, in part because of the California governor’s planned debate with DeSantis. While many Biden advisers no longer see Newsom as a potential primary challenger to the president, they do believe the planned debate would carry more risks than rewards.

Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, left, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida (Getty Images / File)

The debate, which is slated to be televised on Fox News and hosted by Sean Hannity, has the potential to make some voters believe that Newsom is running a shadow campaign against the president in 2024, the report said. The debate comes at a time when many Democrat voters have expressed a desire for change at the top of the ticket, the report noted.

The debate has been viewed in an even more negative light by those in Harris’ orbit, with some reportedly seeing it as an attempt by the California governor to position himself ahead of the vice president for the 2028 Democratic presidential primary.

Newsom made the standing challenge to debate DeSantis this month, an invitation that was seemingly accepted by the Florida governor. But the two camps have yet to agree on the rules and format, calling into question whether the event will go ahead as planned.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis is shown during the first GOP debate in Milwaukee last week. (Fox News)

Not everyone in the Biden camp expressed concern about the prospects of the debate, with some saying such a move could actually be helpful to Biden’s reelection chances the report said.

“What he’s doing here is appropriate for a surrogate. It would not be appropriate for the president or the vice president,” one Biden adviser said, according to NBC News.

“We’re in close touch with him,” this adviser continued. “This is the kind of thing we want surrogates to do.”

Joe Biden Harris Kamala
President Biden and Vice President Harris (Getty Images / File)

Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, expressed a similar sentiment, telling NBC News that Newsom and the campaign have closely coordinated.

“Governor Newsom is a strong partner and surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign,” Munoz said. “We coordinate closely on campaigning, whether it’s fundraising or media. When he brought the debate idea to us, we endorsed it.”

The Biden-Harris campaign did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

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