California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a new interview that Democrats are right to fear former President Donald Trump’s possible reelection as he and other allies of President Joe Biden seek to create a clear “contradiction” ahead of the general election in November.
Speaking with Jonathan Karl, co-anchor of ABC News’ “This Week,” in an interview that aired Sunday, Newsom criticized Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election results and praised Biden’s record since taking office — a strategy the Biden campaign is expected to highlight. In the coming months as the president faces persistently low approval ratings and weak early polls against Trump.
“This is the guy who lost the election — Trump — and he tried to destroy the country,” Newsom told Karl in South Carolina. “He’s setting democracy on fire, making democracy a partisan issue. I never imagined that in my life.” He was stumbling for Biden.
“So the consequences are profound and clear, and that’s why I’m here because this race is on,” Newsom said.
That’s also why, Newsom said, “We need to raise the issues, the successes, these extraordinary successes of the last three years, the Biden-Harris administration. And then we push the contradiction. It’s not even a complex campaign.”
However, Karl pressed Newsom to ask why, if Biden’s record is as strong as Newsom feels, Biden’s approval ratings have remained mired in the 30s in most polls.
“Look, it’s been tough, globally, for the last six or seven years.” “But once again, America stands tall,” Newsom responded. “We are the pillar of support for the global economy – we have no peers economically, and once again we are distinguished by achievement. The economy is booming, inflation is subsiding. … He has delivered.”
However, the governor acknowledged the polls and said, “I’m not naive about this. I take the threat of Trump and Trumpism seriously.”
But Newsom said Trump’s legal challenges, including 91 charges, all of which he denies, could hurt his standing in the eyes of the general electorate.
He noted that some polls indicate that voters will be turned away if Trump is convicted.
“This is the weakest major party presidential candidate I’ve ever seen,” Newsom said, referring to “He’s been badly damaged. We won, Democrats. We keep winning. We won all these elections, in a different post-Dobbs world.” The 2022 Supreme Court decision that struck down constitutional protections for abortion and gave new political importance to abortion access.
Newsom asserted that Trump is “weak.” “It’s more erratic than ever. It’s less disciplined than ever. It’s less interesting. I find it less interesting. It’s not as entertaining as it was in 2020 and 2016.”
On the other hand, Newsom also sought to dispel concerns about Biden’s age (81, a constant sore point for voters), referring to the president’s increased travel schedule.
Newsom expressed concerns about the potential influence of third-party candidates in the 2024 race, such as a hypothetical bipartisan ticket by the group No Labels. But he said Democrats must address any concerns by ensuring their voters turn out to cast ballots later this year.
“We have to be concerned. But you know what? You have to control what you can control. You have to control what you have to control. And now, the vote is in,” he said.
Newsom, the governor of a border state, criticized the stance of many Republicans in Washington who say Biden has badly mismanaged immigration and the southern border and, as such, is not a viable partner in enacting any border reforms despite Biden’s calls for more resources and aid. Open up to some changes.
“They refuse to act,” he told Karl. “They’re just promoting an agenda to disrupt and find a crowbar to put the wheels in place for the Biden administration to stall any progress on this, because they don’t want progress — period.”
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com