Following a brutal beatdown during Thursday night’s red state vs. blue state debate, the wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was acting as the Biden re-election campaign’s star defender, reportedly had to step in to save the California Democrat from Republican presidential contender Ron DeSantis, whose print-out “poop map” of San Francisco delivered the death blow.
The 90-minute showdown was about to head into overtime. Fox News host Sean Hannity, the event’s moderator, was prepared to continue, as were Newsom and DeSantis—both happily in agreement to stay and keep sparring. “Let’s just do an extended hour. I’m happy to do it,” Newsom said. Before cutting away to a commercial break, Hannity teased an extended face-off between the two high-profile governors. However, upon return, Hannity announced that the candidates had to leave for “other commitments.”
When the cameras were off, Jennifer Siebel Newsom intervened on her husband’s behalf, according to NBC’s behind-the-scenes scoop. According to four sources in the DeSantis camp (one who physically witnessed the moment unfold and three others who were standing backstage), Newsom’s wife barged into the debate room on at least two occasions to raise some objections.
Then, she took to the stage mid-break and assertively ended the brawl’s extension. A fifth on-the-ground source (unaffiliated with either campaign) confirmed that Siebel Newsom stopped the show off-screen, declaring: “We’re done.”
Politico similarly reported that Siebel Newsom’s intervention halted the melee. An aide to Newsom, who asked for anonymity to relay the closed-door exchanges, pushed back, telling Politico that both sides had expressed a desire to go home.
“Ron didn’t want to do the debate anymore, either. Everyone shook hands and left,” alleged the Newsom aide.
Team DeSantis said he would have wanted to continue debating for as long as two hours, maybe even three.
Per NBC, a Newsom aide denied that Siebel Newsom was the reason for the overtime’s cancellation and maintained that the decision was mutual, asserting that staffers from Newsom’s crew, as well as the DeSantis team, equally complained to producers when Hannity tried to extend the program. Post-debate in the spin room, Newsom told reporters they didn’t go longer because “everyone started panicking on both sides” as each candidate “had someplace to be.” Newsom spokesman Nathan Click accused Hannity of attempting to tip the scales in DeSantis’s favor throughout the night. “As DeSantis did worse and worse, Sean Hannity tried harder and harder to rehabilitate him,” Click said, claiming: “Gavin Newsom crushed Ron DeSantis deep on his home turf.” Afterward, Newsom posted on X’s platform (formerly Twitter): “That was fun — I could have kept going!”
“Gavin Newsom got beat so badly last night, his wife literally had to throw in the towel for him. It was embarrassing,” DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo said. “The debate was rigged, and Newsom still won,” Newsom adviser Sean Clegg countered, piling on to the cheating claims. Click told Politico that Newsom emerged victorious, winning “with both hands tied behind his back.”