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DeSantis Blasts Newsom: ‘Two Peas in a Pod’ With Xi

By CM Chaney · October 30, 2023

In brief…

  • DeSantis criticizes Newsom's "groveling" meeting with China's Xi
  • Calls leaders "two peas in a pod" over harsh COVID restrictions
  • Says Newsom debate will be good for country amid China tensions
  • Slams optics of trip signaling US willingness to bow to Xi
Florida's Ron DeSantis slammed California Governor Gavin Newsom for meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling the leaders two authoritarian peas in a pod over their harsh pandemic policies.  Wikimedia

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he wasn’t surprised to see California’s Gavin Newsom meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, claiming the leaders have similar authoritarian COVID-19 policies.

Speaking to, DeSantis criticized Newsom’s trip to China as sending the wrong message of “groveling” to Xi amid rising tensions. He called Newsom and Xi “two peas in a pod” for their harsh pandemic restrictions.

“They both had very lengthy lockdowns, curtailed people’s ability to work, go to school, all that,” DeSantis said. “I know California because a lot of people fled to Florida because of what he did.”

On Wednesday, Newsom became the first governor in over four years to travel to China and meet Xi. Critics argue the optics are concerning as many 2024 candidates see China as the top national security threat.

DeSantis will debate Newsom next month in Georgia, which he says will be good for the country. The debate follows the November GOP primary face-off in Miami.

Speaking in Las Vegas, DeSantis said he’s ready to take on Newsom. He called China the largest emerging danger to the U.S. in terms of security and competition.

The Florida governor slammed the California trip’s timing given rising China-Russia tensions with the West. He said it wrongly signals American willingness to “grovel” before Xi.

DeSantis made his remarks backstage at a breakfast with Nevada Republicans. He later spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Summit following Hamas’ recent attack on Israel.

He’s among top GOP figures addressing the conference, including Trump, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence and Chris Christie. DeSantis is considered a top 2024 presidential contender.