California Gov. Gavin Newsom says Michigan stop shows he's 'all in' for Biden (2024)

South Haven — California Gov. Gavin Newsom described himself as "all in" for President Joe Biden's campaign during an event Thursday in Michigan, saying a question about what would happen if Biden dropped out of the race was "very unhelpful."

Newsom, whom many view as a potential future candidate for president, spoke at a gathering in South Haven, a day after he and other Democratic governors met with Biden in Washington, D.C., in the wake of a weak debate performance that has spurred doubts about the future of his reelection bid.

"I was really proud to be with Joe Biden last night," Newsom told the crowd in Michigan. "He started the meeting. The first words out of his mouth: 'I'm all in.'"

"There was no one that walked out of that and didn't say, 'We've got your back, Mr. President," Newsom added. "No one. Not one."

Asked later by a reporter if he would support Vice President Kamala Harris for president if Biden eventually decided to withdraw as the Democratic nominee, Newsom said the question was "very unhelpful and it's exactly the question and answer that the Republican Party wants us to have."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says Michigan stop shows he's 'all in' for Biden (2)

"Joe Biden is our president," Newsom said. "He said he's all in. I doubled down, said I'm all in. And not only that, I'm here with you to prove it."

Biden, who's 81, has been trailing Republican former President Donald Trump in polling in swing states with four months remaining before the Nov. 5 election. During the first debate of the 2024 race featuring Biden and Trump on June 27, one week ago, Biden gave some meandering and confusing answers, including stating at one point, "We finally beat Medicare."

His performance inspired calls from some that he step aside and let someone else be the Democratic nominee. And in recent days, two Democratic members of the U.S. House — Rep. Jared Golden of Maine and Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington — publicly predicted Trump will beat Biden.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says Michigan stop shows he's 'all in' for Biden (3)

Asked about the representatives' comments, Newsom said they were coming from a "very small number of people." Biden has strong support among Democrats in Congress, Newsom added.

"There are a few people who have expressed other points of view," Newsom said. "But that's remarkable unity considering Donald Trump's own vice president (Mike Pence) is not supporting his reelection.

"I think we're in pretty good position."

Pence has previously said he's not endorsing Trump this year. After the 2020 election, which Trump lost to Biden, Trump's supporters unsuccessfully pressured Pence to try to reverse the outcome when Congress met to certify the results.

In Michigan on Thursday, Newsom touted Biden as "one of the most transformative presidents" in his lifetime. Newsom also highlighted Biden's economic record, noting the unemployment rate has been hanging around 4%.

Democrats had outperformed expectations in elections in 2018, 2020 and 2022, Newsom said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says Michigan stop shows he's 'all in' for Biden (4)

"Why am I not as worried as some folks? Because you keep outperforming. Because you keep delivering. Because you're here," Newsom told the Michigan crowd.

About 250 people were there for Newsom's campaign visit. The event took place in the backyard of a South Haven home, where some people sat in lawn chairs and others watched from under a tent.

One of the attendees, Mike Saenz, 61, of South Haven Township, said the calls for Biden to drop out were frustrating. The president can still win the election, Saenz said.

"We've got to get everybody re-energized because that was a rough patch there with the stupid debate," Saenz said.

Rep. Joey Andrews, D-St. Joseph, said the crowd for Newsom's stop was larger than organizers expected. The race between Biden and Trump in Michigan is close, Andrews added.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says Michigan stop shows he's 'all in' for Biden (5)

"I have a hard time seeing the voters of Michigan going back to 2016 and voting for Trump again," Andrews said. "But we've all got to make the case."

However, in a statement released by the Michigan Republican Party on Thursday, state Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, contended Newsom's visit was representative of Biden's "failing" presidential campaign.

"With both being responsible for the chaos at the southern border, high costs ofgroceries and gas and lawlessness in major cities, we know Michigan voters see right through the charade of these ineffective and short-sighted politicians," Nesbitt said.

Newsom and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are both viewed as Democrats who could run for president one day in the future.

Newsom referenced Whitmer once in his speech Thursday, noting she also attended the Wednesday meeting with Biden in Washington, D.C.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says Michigan stop shows he's 'all in' for Biden (2024)
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