'Weakness masquerading as strength': Gavin Newsom torches Ron DeSantis during Florida school visit

'Weakness masquerading as strength': Gavin Newsom torches Ron DeSantis during Florida school visit

California Governor Gavin Newsom publicly denounced Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' attacks on education during his visit to Sarasota, Florida this week, KXAN Austin reports.

Per Sarasota's Herald-Tribune, the Democratic leader met with a group of New College of Florida students, near the campus, to discuss DeSantis' plan to turn the longtime liberal school into his conservative playground.

Herald-Tribune reports:

DeSantis appointed six new conservative board members on Jan. 6 with a mandate to transform Florida's public liberal arts honors college. The governor has talked about making New College more like Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian school in Michigan. DeSantis is visiting Hillsdale College Thursday.

READ MORE: Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis may be gearing up for a 'marquee' 2024 showdown: report

"He has one thing that is common with everything he's doing — bullying and intimidating vulnerable communities," Newsom said to the students. "You're not only on the right side of history, you have something he'll never have — moral authority."

Newsom noted the GOP governor operates with an "us vs. them mentality."

Per KXAN Austin, attendees from the school — both students and staff — discussed "the fear and anxiety many feel about the conservative changes," including sophomore, Mitzi Escalante, who "said students never expected to become part of a fierce political debate that would directly affect them."

Escalante said, "It just feels like we are a pawn. I just don't think education is something we should be weaponizing. It's just like a personal attack."

READ MORE: 'Important victory' for Florida higher education as court upholds block on DeSantis censorship law'

Adom Neizer-Ashun, a freshman, according to Herald-Tribune, told the California governor "New College has been tagged with misleading stereotypes," and "DeSantis had described New College as 'left of the left.'"

Neizer-Ashun added, "I don't know what they think, that we're reading like The Communist Manifesto... but it's just a regular school and I think it's so sad that DeSantis is using the culture war in order to gain political prowess when there's so many others that he could be facing in Florida."

Newsom said to the students, "I can't believe what you're dealing with. It's just an unbelievable assault. It's common with everything he's doing, bullying and intimidating vulnerable communities. Weakness, Ron DeSantis, weakness masquerading as strength across the board."

Herald-Tribune notes the Democratic governor has mentioned instead of "building for a presidential run," he is aiming "to draw attention to a GOP agenda that he believes isn't getting enough pushback."

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis’ 'hostile takeover' could cost a Florida college $29 million in donations: report

KXAN Austin's full report is available at this link. Herald-Tribine's report is here.

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