Democrats are beginning to openly feud as signs indicating Joe Biden’s potential weakness as a candidate heading in to 2024 continue to grow in polling and the media.
While much of the bad blood has played out behind closed doors, in retreats and private phone calls, some has spilled out into public view. Case in point: the recent announcement of Congressman Dean Phillips that he would challenge Mr Biden for the Democratic nomination.
And on Saturday, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman — who perhaps has many reasons to seek alliances with the White House and Democratic establishment as a first-term lawmaker — openly swiped at another one of Mr Biden’s potential 2024 rivals on Sunday when he called out California Governor Gavin Newsom at an Iowa Democratic Party event.
It was a surprising quip from the plain-spoken senator that has the potential to open new rifts within the Democratic Party’s ranks. And it was one that came on the heels of new polling suggesting that Joe Biden’s chances of being reelected are right now weaker than ever before.
“There are two additional Democrats running for ... president right now,” he said at the annual fundraising dinner for the Iowa Democrats, according to NBC News. “One is a congressman from Minnesota, the other one is the governor of California. But only one has the guts to announce it.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Newsom’s office for a response to Mr Fetterman.
The California governor has raised eyebrows with a number of political moves that have raised his national profile, including in recent weeks a trip to Israel and accepting a debate-stage challenge from Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor running for the GOP presidential nomination. The latter in particular was called an inappropriate decision by members of Mr Biden’s circle.
But Mr Newsom has insisted that allegations of running a “shadow” campaign for the White House are unfounded, and has even gone as far as saying that he would not run were the incumbent president to step aside. Vice President Kamala Harris, he told NBC’s Chuck Todd, would be the natural choice to run in that hypothetical scenario.
“We need to move past this notion that he’s not going to run,” he told NBC in that interview. “President Biden is going to run and I’m looking forward to him getting reelected.”