Were Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis lying during Fox News debate? Here’s what they said

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At least 32 times during their 90-minute debate Thursday night, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis charged the other guy was lying.

It was their constant refrain during a night full of insults, interruptions and accusations.

In case you didn’t follow them as they talked over each other, or found the rapid-fire exchanges too rapid, here’s a quick catalog of some of the sharpest moments:

‘You’re just making things up’

Moderator Sean Hannity asked Newsom if it worries him that “our top geopolitical foes, the number one state sponsor of terror, Iran, China, Russia, Afghanistan, Syria, that they’re at our southern border? You’re a border state governor. Does that concern you at all, the security aspect?”

Yes, Newsom said.

Then it began:

HANNITY: It does?

NEWSOM: Why else would I put the National Guard? Why would…I just increased it by 50% on the largest port in the western hemisphere in my state.

I mean, this guy (DeSantis) has no record, has no — I mean, the fact that you supported amnesty, the fact —

DeSANTIS: That’s a lie.

NEWSOM: You supported Obama’s reforms.

DeSANTIS: That’s a lie. That’s a lie.

NEWSOM: Those are facts.

DeSANTIS: That’s a lie.

NEWSOM: They’re simple facts.

DeSANTIS: You’re just making things up.

NEWSOM: The fact that your greatest contribution, Ron —

DeSANTIS: You are just making things up.

NEWSOM: — to this debate is shipping people with backpacks…

DeSANTIS: Well, listen, here’s the thing -- I don’t mind —

NEWSOM: I mean, that’s so inhumane, it’s so unserious.

DeSANTIS: I don’t mind him lying to me. I don’t mind Gavin lying to me. But I do mind him lying to you. He is sitting there saying that Joe Biden is willing to solve this problem. Is there anybody out there that actually believes this?

DeSantis, then a House member, voted for legislation in 2018 that restricted immigration but would have provided brief legal status to children whose parents were undocumented when they entered the country. The bill, which failed, got no Democratic support, while 193 Republicans voted for it.

‘A lot of left-wing platitudes’

After DeSantis ripped California as an unpleasant, unsafe, expensive place to live, Newsom ticked off reasons California is in fact attractive.

“California dominates. It’s the size of 21 state populations combined. It’s the fifth largest economy in the world. We dominate, number one manufacturing state. We dominate in two-way trade, in research and development, access to innovation, more scientists, more researchers, more engineers, more Nobel laureates in the state of California than any other state in the nation, the finest system of higher education.

“It’s the birthplace of life science and biotech and nanotechnology. We dominate in green tech. We dominate in high tech. We dominate in artificial intelligence.

So, Newsom said, “I think it’s an interesting campaign strategy for Ron DeSantis to be bashing a state of 40 million Americans, when California simply has no peers.

DeSantis: “Wow, that’s a pretty slick way of not answering your question. He went on a binge of putting out a lot of left-wing platitudes”

‘It’s a fact’

Hannity tried to press Newsom on DeSantis’ claim that people are fleeing California for Florida.

“You have yet to address the issue, but I asked you twice. You don’t want to answer it, but the issue of why the migration out of red states — I’m sorry — out of blue states,” Hannity said.

Newsom insisted, “We just established more Floridians coming to California in the last two years.”

DeSantis questioned Newsom’s boast.

“You didn’t establish it,” DeSantis said of Newsom’s claim.

That triggered this exchange:.

NEWSOM: It’s a fact.

DeSANTIS: You just asserted it.

NEWSOM: It’s a fact.

DeSANTIS: No, it’s not a fact.

NEWSOM: It is a fact.

Census Bureau data showed that last year, more people left California for Florida than in any year since at least 2005. An estimated 50,701 people left California for Florida between 2021 and 2022, according to recent census figures. About 28,000 moved from Florida to California.

‘Joined at the hip with Biden’

Newsom frequently defended Biden during the debate, at one point saying he was proud of the administration.

DeSANTIS: He’s joined at the hip with Biden and (Vice President Kamala) Harris. He thinks Biden and Harris have done a great job. He thinks the economy is working because of their policies for Americans and they are not.

And so, what California represents is the Biden/Harris agenda on steroids. They would love nothing more than to get four more years to be able to take the California model nationally. That would be disastrous for working people in this country.

NEWSOM: You know, we talk about working people. They pay more in your state than the state of California charges for billionaires and millionaires. And it’s just a value proposition.

DeSANTIS: That’s not true.

NEWSOM: It’s a fact. Again, you can’t make these things up.

DeSANTIS: You have $6 or $7 a gallon gas. How do they -- how do they afford that? These are folks that are blue-collar people. (The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California Friday was $4.83, according to AAA.)

NEWSOM: We were talking about tax rates in the state.

DeSANTIS: You’re going to force everybody to buy an electric vehicle. How are they going to be able to afford electric vehicles if you’re working class people?

‘You closed down your beaches’

DeSantis jabbed Newsom for sending his children to a private school a in late 2020, a time when many public schools in California were closed because of Covid-imposed restrictions.

“He is owned by the teachers’ union. You will never cross the teachers’ union. Lock, stock, and barrel,” DeSantis charged.

“This is just a lot of hot air. Let’s talk about COVID. Let’s talk about your record on COVID. You passed an emergency declaration before the state of California did. You closed down your beaches, your bars, your restaurants. It’s a fact,” Newsom countered.

That led to this back and forth:

DeSANTIS: False. The beaches were not closed. (DeSantis issued an order limiting gatherings at public beaches to 10 people).

NEWSOM: You had quarantines. You had checkpoints all over the state of Florida. By the way, I didn’t say that. Donald Trump laid you out on this, dead to right. You did.

DeSANTIS: That’s not true.

NEWSOM: You followed science. You followed (Anthony) Fauci. (Fauci, former director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was often the chief government spokesman during the COVID crisis)

DeSANTIS: That’s not true.

NEWSOM: He followed science. He followed Fauci. (DeSantis did praise Fauci’s work at the start of the COVID crisis in 2020)

DeSANTIS: And why did everyone leave California to come to Florida because we were open?

NEWSOM: Hold on. You were promoting vaccines. You even wore a mask in September.

DeSANTIS: We were open. You were closed.

‘Where is the decency?’

DeSANTIS: So, California… They’ve used the schools to impose a liberal agenda, social justice. They have these ethnic studies where they’re dividing people. That’s what they’re doing.

Let me just say something about parents’ rights, because he says California respects parents’ rights. This is rich. He has been telling a lot of whoppers tonight. This may be the biggest. In California, if you’re a parent in Iowa or New Hampshire, South Carolina, your minor child can go to California without your knowledge or without your consent and get hormone therapy, puberty blockers and a sex change operation all without you knowing or consenting. How in the heck is that —

NEWSOM: You know what?

DeSANTIS: You are honoring parents’ rights, when you’re bringing people from out of state to go around their parents’ backs and getting life altering surgeries? That is radical. (Minors in California must have a parent’s consent before undergoing gender-affirming surgery)


DeSANTIS: That is an assault on parent’s rights.

NEWSOM: You know what? Ron, this is —

DeSANTIS: It’s not for you to decide.

NEWSOM: You know what?

DeSANTIS: It’s for the parents to decide. And the parents do not want their kids going for these other things.

NEWSOM: You know what? These kids just want to survive. I find this honestly....Where is the decency and humanity?

DeSANTIS: The decency of taking, ripping somebody —

They were talking over one another, and Hannity calmly said no one could hear them.