Senator John Fetterman from Pennsylvania has never been afraid to call out other Democrats, and he did it again over the weekend, criticizing California Governor Gavin Newsom for running a shadow campaign for president.
Fetterman, the freshman congressman who defeated Republican Mehmet Oz in a heated battle during last year’s midterm elections, was attending an Iowa event on Saturday. Comments he made added more tensions to the intra-party fighting that’s happening as President Joe Biden is working on a re-election campaign that not everyone is supporting.
At the Iowa event, Fetterman criticized Newsom about suspicions that the California governor is running a shadow campaign for president, even though he still is insisting publicly that he’s supporting Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris – who is a former senator from California.
As Fetterman said at the event:
“There are two additional Democrats running for … president right now. One is a congressman from Minnesota. The other one is the governor of California, but only one has the guts to announce it.”
Fetterman was referencing Dean Phillips, the Democratic representative from Minnesota who last month announced that he would be challenging Biden in the primaries, calling for a “new generation of American leaders.”
Newsom has claimed on multiple occasions that he was deferring to the re-election bid that Biden announced earlier this year. However, he’s stoked much speculation about the political ambitions he has, specifically after he traveled to both China and Israel recently.
He also agreed to debate with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Newsom also said recently that he wished he were president so that he could be in charge of foreign affairs, which he believes he could do a better job of than Biden.
Many people, including some of the president’s own supporters, have called on Biden to consider dropping out of the presidential race now. They cite his low approval numbers and his unfavorable polling in a hypothetical rematch against Donald Trump, who he defeated during the 2020 presidential election and who’s the presumptive GOP nominee.
Some have also questioned whether he’s capable of running the country again, considering his advanced age.
In September, Newsom defended Biden, telling NBC that Democrats “need to move past” whatever worries they have about the president. He was asked directly whether he’d consider running against Harris for vice president, and he said:
“Of course not.”
That hasn’t stopped many people, like Fetterman, of accusing Newsom of working behind the scenes to undermine Biden while building up his own potential political future.
Fetterman made a lot of headlines in his short time in Congress. Leading up to the campaign against Oz, he struggled with his health after suffering a stroke. Then, after he was elected to Congress, he had to take some time away due to bouts with depression.
Fetterman recently called for fellow Democratic Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey to resign from his post after he was levied with criminal charges about having improper ties to Egypt.