California Gov. Gavin Newsom insists he is not interested in running for president, despite buying ads in Florida and Texas to troll their Republican governors, raising his profile ahead of the 2024 election as President Biden considers reelection.
“It’s not my ambition,” the Democrat told CBS News chief Washington correspondent, Major Garrett, in an exclusive interview on Saturday. “It’s not the direction that I’m leaning into. It’s not the moment.”
When pressed on whether he could say he will never run for president, Newsom said, “Yeah, I have no interest.”
Unlike some Democrats, Newsom believes Mr. Biden should run for reelection.
“I don’t think there have been two years of more effective policy-making of a modern American president,” Newsom said. “It’s been a masterclass the last two years, not necessarily in effective communication and generating narrative, but in terms of the substance under the circumstance, with all the headwinds, the obfuscation, and opposition. I think it’s been remarkable.”
After surviving a recall election in 2021, the governor is seeking a second term. Since his reelection bid is not close, he has focused his efforts elsewhere, including New Mexico, where Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is in a tight race.
Newsom predicted a red wave, criticizing his own party’s messaging ahead of the midterm elections next week.
“Look, I can be the cheerleader. I’m also pragmatic,” he said. “You feel it. It’s not just intellectualization based on polling.”
“You feel it,” he continued. “And it goes to my fundamental grievance with my damn party. We’re getting crushed on narrative. We’re going to have to do better in terms of getting on the offense and stop being on the damn defense.”
Democrats have prioritized abortion rights over other issues this election cycle, while Republicans are “winning the messaging war,” according to Newsom.
“It’s remarkable Democrats have done as well as they’ve done under these circumstances,” he said.
“What he’s done to aid and abet this notion, the ‘Big Lie,’ sowing doubts around the foundation of our democracy, how he’s aiding and abetting functionally authoritarian leaders across his party,” Newsom said. “That scares the hell out of me.”