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Gavin Newsom’s Biggest Critic, Kevin Kiley, Tees-Up Possible Questions for the Newsom-DeSantis Debate

Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) has been a national voice exposing California’s failures and warning against implementing these failures nationally. Roll Call said he may be California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “biggest critic,” and Kiley proudly owned that title.

Very few seem to understand the clear and present danger of Newsom running for higher office. They are trying to relegate him to a progressive joke who will never fly in flyover country when what every Republican needs to do, from the feckless Ronna McDaniel to the California GOP, to every candidate in between, is shine a blazing light on Newsom’s record in California and show how his policies would play out nationally. But, people continue to remain willfully clueless.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is Exhibit A on why Republicans lose more than they win.

This Thursday’s debate between Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the perfect opportunity to shine that spotlight. Newsom all but harangued DeSantis into a debate, taking to X (formerly Twitter) and literally cyberstalking the governor about “California freedoms” and DeSantis’ book banning and authoritarian governance (pot, meet kettle). So, DeSantis agreed to debate him, and Fox News’ Hannity was the chosen venue. 

Let’s hope Sean Hannity has been paying attention to Rep. Kiley, who, aside from the California Globe and our California contingent here at RedState, is a walking lexicon on Newsom’s record of failure, falsehoods, and finagling. On Monday, Kiley had some very pointed questions that Hannity should consider asking the benighted Governor Hair Gel. In an X thread, Kiley asked 10 questions about CalExit, COVID response, Homelessness, The California Economy, Education, Gas Prices, Water, Vaccine Mandates, Immigration, and Crime. Kiley also threw in a bonus question, which is the chef’s kiss. Let’s break down a few of those questions from the lengthy X thread.

This Thursday Gavin Newsom will appear on Fox News for a debate with Ron DeSantis, to make his case that California is a “model for the nation.” Here are 10 suggested questions for Newsom[.] 

This Thursday Gavin Newsom will appear on Fox News for a debate with Ron DeSantis, to make his case that CaliforCalifornia ExodusYou have called the California Exodus a “Fox News myth.” Yet official population figures, as documented by your own Department of Finance, the Census Bureau, and news sources like the LA Times, show that California is losing people faster than any state in the country. The latest Census numbers show 700,000 more people moved out than moved in the last two years. nia is a “model for the nation.” Here are 10 suggested questions for Newsom[.] 

Count this writer among them. We spent Thanksgiving in our beautiful new state with fellow California transplants who initially hosted us when we were planning our escape. They told us they have hosted several more over the past year, which means the number of people leaving (or looking to leave) California is still on the rise. But in June, when Newsom had a sit down on Hannity’s show, he continued to gaslight about it and had the nerve to say that more Floridians have left the state for California than the other way around.

Despite a dwindling population and a budget deficit of nearly $32 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom is telling Americans “not to count out” the state of California.
During an exclusive interview on “Hannity” Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom made his case for why the state saw a dramatic drop in its population during 2021 and 2022, and why it is underperforming compared to Florida.
“Per capita, more Floridians move to California than California is moving to Florida,” Newsom said when challenged on his state’s declining population. 
The governor stated that 18 states across the country saw a dip in their population as California’s decline hovered over 0.3%, a first for the state. 

Kiley beautifully lays that to waste:

This is especially notable because for more than a century, between 1900 and 2019, California’s population grew every year. Yet in the three years since, during your time as Governor, it has declined every year; for each of those years, California has led the nation in one-way U-Haul rentals. In 2019, the number of Californians moving to Florida was 24 percent greater than the number of Floridians moving to California; by 2022, it was 77 percent greater. What does it say about your performance as Governor that so many of your constituents are leaving the state? 

After Newsom appeared on Fox 11 anchor Elex Michaelson’s The Issue Is show and claimed that he allowed local control on the COVID response, Kiley asked to appear on Michaelson’s program to refute him. When Kiley was in the California Assembly, he and his colleague James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) sued Newsom over his COVID response, among other things. So, Kiley is intimately acquainted with Newsom’s draconian moves and failed attempts at covering them up. 

This was one of Newsom’s biggest attempts at rewriting his record on COVID and an obvious indicator that he plans to run. In 2020, Newsom was dining out maskless at the French Laundry and allowing his children to attend in-person learning, while the rest of the state was restricted from dining out, restaurants and small businesses were shut down, and kids were relegated to learning (or not) on Zoom. Kiley’s next question puts a dagger in the heart of Newsom’s attempts to memory-hole that period.

COVIDIn April of 2020, you welcomed the arrival of COVID-19 as an “opportunity” for a “new progressive era.” Three and a half years later, it is clear that California fared worse than any state. California had the longest school shutdowns and most sweeping business closures out of all 50 states, yet a study in the Lancet found it had one of the highest standardized COVID death rates as well. With the evidence so clear, you recently acknowledged “we would’ve done everything differently” and said “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.” Yet how is it that all 49 other governors knew better? 

This question would also be a perfect opportunity for DeSantis to allow his record to shine. After an initial closure, DeSantis reopened educational institutions across Florida as well as businesses in the state. While California’s children are having to deal with detrimental learning loss, Florida’s parents and children are thriving under the freedom and flexibility of DeSantis’ policies. 

Kiley’s questions are detailed and pointed, but none more so than the most smelly elephant in California’s room: Homelessness and Crime.

Homelessness: California has spent $20 billion on homelessness the last five years as the problem has gotten worse: Half of all unsheltered homeless in the whole country now live in California. In 2004, upon becoming Mayor of San Francisco, you announced a 10-year plan to get all chronically homeless off the streets. Yet 14 years later, in 2018, you walked through San Francisco and declared the problem had “never been worse.” In 2020, you devoted your entire State of the State address to homelessness, calling homelessness in California a “disgrace.” Yet over the next three years, homelessness in the state increased 15 times faster than the country as a whole. You yourself said that Los Angeles looks like a “a third-world country.” You also acknowledged that Californians are “wondering where the heck all their tax dollars are going.” Can you give them an answer? 

Hannity really should hop on this one, since Newsom is fresh off a victory lap for “reopening” Los Angeles’ 10 Freeway. The reason it was closed? Because a fire in a massive homeless encampment underneath said freeway blazed out of control. Not a good look.

Crime: New FBI data shows violent crime in California increased 13 percent the last few years as it’s gone down across the country. California’s cities have seen an epidemic of retail theft; in San Francisco, a string of high-profile business closures has resulted from the lawlessness of the city. In Los Angeles, police have advised residents not to go outdoors wearing jewelry. In 2022, the number of reported vehicle thefts per capita was 250 percent higher in California than in Florida. You have supported Prop. 47 and several policies that reduce consequences for criminal conduct and release serious offenders from prison early. Do you believe these policies bear any connection to the state’s crime problem? 

Another freebie for Hannity producers: If there is no crime problem, why did they clean up San Francisco ahead of Xi Jinping‘s visit?

And Kiley’s bonus question:

*BONUS: You have proclaimed that “the future happens in CA first.” You have spoken about what your state can “teach the other 49.” You have called California a “model for the nation.” Why should any state, let alone the country, copy the policies that have caused California to be the most popular in America to leave?

If California is a reflection of how Newsom would lead the rest of the country, then we need a bigger, brighter spotlight and a bigger megaphone. We MUST call him out on his record, loudly and often. Rep. Kevin Kiley pretty much did the heavy lifting for Hannity’s producers with these questions, and the receipts are not hard to find. They should really take advantage of this. It is no secret that Hannity is a staunch ally of former President Donald J. Trump. So, if Hannity softballs Newsom and filibusters DeSantis for the sole purpose of diminishing him, we’ll know where Hannity’s allegiances lie. Apparently not with the American people.

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