Gov. Gavin Newsom continued to shut down conversations about his presidential ambitions during a wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that aired Monday night.
Hannity pressed Newsom on a range of topics, including immigration, tax policy and President Joe Biden’s job performance.
From a political standpoint, the interview was beneficial for both Hannity and Newsom. It was an opportunity for Newsom to continue raising his national profile ahead of a future presidential run by going toe-to-toe with the conservative news channel’s highest profile host.
For Fox and Hannity, it was a chance to attack Biden and lift up Newsom, a candidate Republicans likely view as a less-competitive presidential contender.
Newsom on Biden and presidential ambitions
Hannity made a point of pressing the governor on Biden’s fitness for office and whether he is mentally equipped to run for another term as president. During one segment, Hannity had Newsom watch videos of Biden’s speaking gaffes and tripping incidents.
“Here’s the problem that Joe Biden has,” Hannity said. “You’re arguing, you’re fighting, you’re battling, you’re articulate. We could sit here for three hours, probably have a beer or two in the middle of this, and you can keep going.”
“Here’s the problem,” Hannity added. “Your president can’t have this conversation. He’s not capable of it. Now, my question is a serious one: Is Joe Biden up to the job of being president?”
“I don’t think he’s capable,” Newsom responded. “I know he’s capable. I see results. I see a master class in results the last few years.”
Hannity continued pressing Newsom on whether Biden is “cognitively strong enough to be president.”
“I have conversations all the time with him,” Newsom said. “Yes. And I’ll tell you why I do. I’m dead serious about that. I’ve talked to him when he’s been overseas. I’ve been in Air Force One, Marine One. I’ve been in the limo with him.”
Hannity continued pushing Newsom about receiving pressure to compete against Biden for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination.
“How many times does your phone ping a day (with) people saying, ‘You need to get in this race,’ because they agree with me that he’s not up to the job?” Hannity asked.
Newsom said there were no circumstances under which he would consider entering the presidential contest.
“I see where you’re going with that, Sean,” Newsom said. “And I’m not answering.”
Newsom expanding national profile
Newsom has spent the past year trying to expand his national name recognition by taking on Republican figures, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Last year, he spent money from his re-election campaign on billboards and newspaper and television ads in Florida and Texas criticizing GOP policies on issues such as abortion and gun control.
This year, he created a political action committee called the Campaign for Democracy and went on a red state tour with stops in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Florida.
The PAC last week launched an effort to push for a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution to restrict firearms and prevent gun violence.
This story was initially printed June 12, 2023, 8:12 PM.