Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) accused California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) of running a presidential campaign against President Biden without announcing it during an address at the Iowa Democratic Party dinner Saturday, according to a report by NBC News.
Fetterman noted that Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) has challenged Biden, but he then also took a shot at Newsom, who is widely seen as a potential Democratic presidential candidate but who is not running and has deferred to Biden.
Fetterman told the crowd there are two Democrats “running for president right now” in addition to Biden.
“One is a congressman from Minnesota, the other is the governor of California, but only one has the guts to announce it,” Fetterman told the crowd, per NBC News.
The Hill has reached out to Newsom and Fetterman’s office for further comment.
Phillips launched his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last month.
Newsom has repeatedly said he will not run for the White House in 2024 even if Biden does not pursue a reelection bid.
Democrats over the weekend saw new polling that showed Biden trailing President Trump in a head-to-head match-up. Democratic political strategist David Axelrod has said Biden should consider not running for reelection given voter concerns about his age and his weakness in polls.
Newsom has taken a number of steps to boost his public profile and has been accused by others of eyeing the White House.
Last month, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy suggested Newsom is “running for president, doing it and doing it in disguise, doing it with a track record at a state that is more disastrous by the day,” according to NBC News.
Ramswamy’s comments came after Newsom’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, where the blue state governor pushed for climate cooperation and “reengaging” with China on several issues.
Newsom will participate in a televised debate later this month with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate.