Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) battled Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-California) on Thursday night in a contentious debate about the governance Florida, a red state, and California, a blue state.
“What Biden would do, the people around him, they would look to California for the model to go forward in the next four years. That would accelerate the decline of this country,” said Gov. DeSantis.
The first ever Red State vs Blue State debate, moderated by Sean Hannity on Fox News, saw the two governors taking aim at each other’s governmental records, and auguring fiercely over political and social questions.
The debate began with a question about the large number of Californians leaving for other, less liberal states.
Roughly 750,000 Californians migrated away from the state from from 2021-2022, according to Fox News.
Gov. Newsom dodged the question, instead claiming, falsely and without citing any supporting evidence, that more Floridians moved to California between 2021 and 2022 than Californians left for Florida.
“We just established more Floridians coming to California over the last two years than the other way around,” Said Newsom.
DeSantis shot back with a personal attack, recalling a meeting he had with a Californian who had left for Florida and praised the government and quality of life in Florida above that of California.
The man turned out to be Gavin Newsom’s father-in-law.
“Then he paused and he said, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m Gavin Newsom’s father-in law’,” said DeSantis.
The debate continued with DeSantis criticizing Newsom’s handling of China, parental rights, and a slew of other issues.
DeSantis accused Newsom of groveling to China while Florida instituted bans against Chinese citizens buying land.
“I would not go to China and grovel in front of Xi, like Gavin Newsom did,” said DeSantis.
In criticizing Newsom’s treatment of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, DeSantis brought a map of all the human feces found on the streets of San Francisco.
The map showed that human feces had been found throughout the whole city.
The streets were only cleaned up and cleared of homeless in preparation for Xi Jinping’s visit to the city on November 14.
“Human feces is now a fact of life, except when a communist dictator comes to town,” said DeSantis. “They lined the streets with Chinese flags, they didn’t put American flags there.”
When discussing parental rights, DeSantis brought California’s far-left laws regarding transgender minors to the foreground.
California law allows minors to travel from out of state to receive puberty blockers and other irreversible transgender medication and procedures without parental consent.
“Your minor child can go to California without your knowledge or without your consent and get hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and a sex change operation,” said DeSantis “That is an assault on parents’ rights.”
Maine also considered a similar proposal this year, but lawmakers have yet to bring it up for a final vote.
DeSantis brought in a page from the book Gender Queer which has caused controversy throughout the country.
In Maine, parents have petitioned that the book be removed from school libraries for its explicit content.
DeSantis praised Florida’s ban on the book, while criticizing Newsom’s state for allowing it.
DeSantis held up a censored pornographic image from the book which displays two male minors engaging in oral-sex.
“This is a book that’s in some of the schools in California. This is pornography. It’s cartoons. It’s aimed at children — and it’s wrong,” DeSantis said.
Conservative and liberal news outlets disagree on the outcome of the debate.
Many liberal sources claim that the moderator Sean Hannity biased the debate unfairly in favor of DeSantis and slammed DeSantis’ performance.
“It’s difficult to accurately say who “won” a debate, but the night didn’t go smoothly for DeSantis,” said Madison Hall writing for the Business Insider.
DeSantis currently holds a distant second in Republican primary polls with 12.6 percent support when compared with Trump’s 60 percent.
Although many believe that Newsom intends to run against Biden in 2024, he continues to deny it.