Gavin Newsom Reveals His Motivation for Going After Gov. DeSantis: It Was Because of His Special Olympics Vaccine Threat

Toby Hazlewood

"He did something that tipped me very directly" says Newsom

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Gov. DeSantis at Special Olympics BriefingTwitter of CaseyDeSantis

On July 16 Governor of California Gavin Newsom revealed what motivated him to run TV adverts in Florida in which he attacked Governor Ron DeSantis and made the assertion that "Freedom is under attack in Florida", and it wasn't primarily about offering Floridians a haven of freedom if they were to move to his state.

Newsom has now clarified that what triggered his decision run adverts was when Governor Ron DeSantis threatened the Special Olympics with a $27.5 million fine if they insisted on requiring that participants be vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine requirement was subsequently dropped.

Speaking on the matter of his motivation to run TV adverts in Florida in which he attacked Governor DeSantis and called into question various of his recent legislative changes, Gavin Newsom had this to say about DeSantis:

"...he did something that tipped me very directly, and that was going after the Special Olympics."

Newsom continued:

"That led to the consideration of doing something a little bit more expressive and that was the determination on the ad."

So it wasn't about appealing to Floridians, or former Californians?

The advert promised Floridians a place to live in California where freedoms are apparently still observed. Prior to the adverts running, there had also been speculation that Newsom might be trying to appeal to some of the 100,000+ Californians who deserted the state in 2021, some of which are likely to be responsible for Florida's population increasing by 220,000+ in the same year.

But in the end, and by his own admission it would seem that Newsom was triggered into making a partisan political attack on DeSantis by his threat to the Special Olympics organization if they were to enforce vaccine mandates.

The other motivator - building political profile?

There has also been speculation that Gavin Newsom had another motivation - to build his profile within the Democrats.

Florida Senator Rick Scott has suggested that this was the primary motivator. Given Newsom's confession that he was pushed to take action over vaccine mandates - another politically divisive topic - there would seem to be some substance to the idea.

“What Newsom’s doing, it makes sense for Newsom. Maybe for the legacy of Newsom, saying ‘Oh, we’re a progressive state’ might be helping him back home.”

If this was the case, then the mission seems to have been accomplished - to some extent at least.

Immediately after the adverts ran, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey appeared on CNN saying that he "likes" what Newsom did, and chose to use the opportunity to appeal to Floridians who might want to move to his state instead.

Regardless of Newsom's motivation, Governor DeSantis is unrelenting. In the aftermath of discussions with the Special Olympics he tweeted to express why he stood by his decision:

He has also since shared his feelings about the adverts and Newsom's claims, and given his comments I'd fair to assume he's not concerned about what California's governor had to say about Florida.

"Everyone wants to talk about me and Florida! 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. You now see a lot of them! I can tell you if you go to California you won't be seeing very many Florida license plates."

Meanwhile, if Newsom's true objective was to gain some press coverage and to increase his profile in the Democrats then he's certainly done that at least!

Do you think that Gavin Newsom was concerned about the topic of Freedom when he ran his adverts in Florida, or do you think it was a move motivated by political profile? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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