Sen. John Fetterman swipes at California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., at a campaign event for state judicial candidates in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 28. Ryan Collerd / AP ALTOONA, IA — Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., on Saturday evening criticized California Gov. Gavin Newsom and accused him of secretly running for president while speaking at an Iowa Democratic Party dinner, even though Newsom has said he fully supports Joe Biden’s re-election bid.

“There are two additional Democrats running for Pennsylvania, excuse me, running for president right now,” said Fetterman, who acknowledged that he still has lingering speech issues after he had a stroke in 2022. “One is a congressman from Minnesota, the other one is the governor of California, but only one has the guts to announce it.”

Fetterman isn’t the only political figure to have recently accused Newsom of making a bid for the White House while in Iowa. Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said in Iowa City last month, “The man 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.”

Newsom’s recent trip to Beijing, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with his decision to participate in a televised debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a Republican presidential candidate who sits on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum to Newsom — has fueled speculation that he’s positioning himself as a possible Democratic presidential contender.

He attempted to quell those rumors in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in September, saying he has no plans to run for president in 2024 and he’s “looking forward” to helping Biden get re-elected.

Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Fetterman’s remarks.

Alex Tabet

Alex Tabet is a 2024 NBC News campaign embed.

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