In Doylestown, Gov. Gavin Newsom Rejects Calls For Pres. Biden To Step Down

The presidential campaign made a stop in Bucks County on Saturday.

By John Cole | Pennsylvania Capital-Star

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a campaign rally for President Joe Biden in Bucks County on Saturday, July 6.
Credit: John Cole/Capital-Star

California Gov. Gavin Newsom continued his swing through Pennsylvania on Saturday, stumping for President Joe Biden in Bucks County and pushing back against calls for the president to step aside. 

“If Donald Trump succeeds, God help us, we will roll back the last half century,” Newsom told an audience outside of a Biden-Harris campaign office. 

“Look what the Biden-Harris administration has done to turn that around,” Newsom said. “I don’t need to tell Bucks County to buck up, Democrats deliver, Democrats did that, you did that, our president did that, he delivered.” 

Bucks County is the only purple county in the southeastern part of the state, and both parties have put particular focus on the densely populated suburb just north of Philadelphia. 

Newsom was joined in Doylestown Borough by State Sen. Steve Santarsiero, State Rep. Tim Brennan, Bucks County Commissioners Chairperson Diane Ellis-Marseglia, and Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie.

“Bucks County, probably as much as any other county in America, is likely to tip the tide one way or the other,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) said  Saturday. “As goes Bucks County, so goes Pennsylvania, and as goes Pennsylvania, so goes the country and the world.”

Ashley Ehasz, the Democratic nominee for U.S. House in PA-01, speaks at a campaign rally for President Joe Biden. Credit: John Cole/Capital-Star

Newsom has become one of the most vocal defenders of Biden’s candidacy following the president’s shaky debate performance against former President Donald Trump. He’s also one of the Democrats most frequently mentioned in speculation about who would replace Biden on the ticket if the president stepped aside.

As of Saturday morning, five U.S. House Democrats were among those calling on Biden to not seek a second term. But on Saturday, Newsom dismissed concerns that he is damaging his credibility by continuing to support the president. 

“Look, there’s a handful of folks that may have different opinions,” Newsom told reporters. “The vast majority of the caucus remains solidly behind the president.” He added that he thinks Biden made the point “very effectively” during his interview with ABC News and a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Friday, and called on the campaign to stay the course. 

U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) has been another vocal supporter of Biden remaining as the party nominee. On Friday night, Fetterman criticized Democrats calling for the president to drop out. “If you want to betray the president like that… you’re entitled to your opinion, but enjoy your three minutes of fame,” he said during an interview on MSNBC

Newsom declined to comment on Fetterman’s statement about Democrats “betraying” the president, but praised the senator’s steadfast support of Biden’s candidacy.

“That’s how I was raised too,” Newsom said. “It’s a character test, respect the senator, respect this president, I was just raised that way.”

Newsom also campaigned for Biden in Michigan on July 4 and in Pittsburgh on July 5. He’s scheduled to appear in Chester County later on Saturday for another event promoting Biden and Democrats. 

Ashley Ehasz, the Democratic nominee challenging U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1st District) in Bucks County, spoke at the Saturday rally, saying she was terrified of what Trump and his “MAGA enablers” would do if they win in November.

“We all know that Donald Trump is a draft dodger,” Ehasz said. “But what we should all also know is that Fitzpatrick is a truth dodger. He refuses to tell us, his constituents, whether or not he will endorse Trump in November.”

Fitzpatrick is the only Republican in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to represent a district that Biden won in 2020 and not announce whether he is supporting Trump’s candidacy in 2024. For the 2016 election, Fitzpatrick has said he wrote in Mike Pence for president, but voted for Trump in 2020.

“Ehasz is a far left extremist whose values are wildly out of touch with Pennsylvanians, and that’s why she’s going to lose miserably to Representative Fitzpatrick again,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Marinella wrote in an email to the Capital-Star on Saturday, in response to a request for comment from the Fitzpatrick campaign.

“I can’t speak for what other elected officials or candidates are saying, all I know is for me, right now, we have a 34- time convicted felon at the top of the Republican ticket and as a veteran, I am working to stop him,” Ehasz told reporters. “So, whoever can stop Trump is who I’m getting behind.” 

When asked whether she thought Biden is best-equipped to prevent a second Trump term, Ehasz said “I think right now he has the record of being one of the best presidents this country has ever seen.”

Newsom reiterated that he would not run for the nomination if there was an open convention and answered a question about the leaks from Democrats questioning Biden’s candidacy.

“It’s a lot of people talking to you guys. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Newsom said, while chuckling. “I’ll just leave it at that and that’s everyone’s judgment to make that determination.”

When asked if he thinks those Democrats should stop talking to reporters, he said “I offer zero advice.”

A group of pro-Trump protesters were standing alongside the road in front of the rally, with one holding a sign that read “Go Back to Cali NewSCUM.”

Protesters gather outside a campaign rally for President Joe Biden in Bucks County where California Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke on Saturday. Credit: John Cole/Capital-Star

The Trump campaign did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Saturday. 

Trump, who has made four appearances in Pennsylvania so far in 2024, will hold a rally in western Pennsylvania on July 13. Biden, who has visited the state eight times so far this year, is scheduled to be in Pennsylvania on Sunday, at a church service in Philadelphia and a campaign event in Harrisburg.

Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll, which was released on Saturday, showed some promising numbers for Biden against Trump in multiple battleground states, although its sample size is relatively low. 

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

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Pennsylvania Capital-Star

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news site dedicated to honest and aggressive coverage of state government, politics and policy.

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