Newsom Says Biden Should Debate Trump
Gov. Gavin Newsom kicks off his campaign for Proposition 1 at Los Angeles General Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden should “100%” debate former President Donald Trump in the general election, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said in an interview that aired on Sunday.

“Meet The Press” moderator Kristen Welker pressed Newsom on the question, noting that Trump has said he is ready to debate Biden right away.

“100%,” Newsom said on the NBC News program, adding, “Pure projection on a guy who refused to debate in his own primary. Back to my point: weakness masquerading as strength.”

He also claimed that Biden “beat Trump” in the prior debates in the 2020 election.

Earlier this month, Trump told radio host Dan Bongino that he would like to debate Biden “immediately” for “the good of the country.”

When a reporter asked Biden to respond, the president said, “If I were him, I’d want him to debate me, too. He’s got nothing else to do.”

Biden and Trump are the frontrunners for their respective parties in the 2024 race and are well on their way to a 2020 rematch in November, but are still in the midst of the primary season.

The Democratic National Committee declined to set up debates for the primary season, irking Biden’s long-shot rivals. Robert F. Kennedy even ditched the Democrats to run as an independent as he protested how the party was handling its election process.

Trump refused to participate in the Republican Party’s debates, saying the American public “knows” him and his record. He still faces a challenge in Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, though he is dominating the contest and won Haley’s home state on Saturday.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced three presidential debates, starting with one on September 16 in Texas and one vice presidential debate on September 25 in Pennsylvania. Still, there has been some speculation that there may not end up being any presidential debates.

Newsom is widely considered a future prospect to run for the presidency as a Democrat and debated Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis last year when DeSantis was still running for the White House.

For now, Newsom has positioned himself as a vocal supporter of Biden’s re-election campaign. During the “Meet The Press” interview, he defended Biden against concerns about the incumbent’s age (81) and his ability to serve a second term.


“It’s because of his age that he’s been so successful,” Newsom said.

Trump took a swipe at Newsom during his speech on Saturday at the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington, D.C.

“A lot of people think Gavin Newsom is going to run. In a certain way, I hope so,” Trump said. “I hope so. Because he’s destroyed California.”

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