In a heated debate on Thursday night, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis traded barbs with California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

DeSantis tried to convince Republican voters that he is the right choice to challenge President Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

But his confrontation with Newsom, who was a strong supporter of Biden and likely to pursue a future presidential campaign, swiftly devolved into an exchange of insults.

DeSantis repeatedly accused Newsom of being dishonest and leading a struggling state, while Newsom mocked his Florida counterpart as an overly aggressive person who is trailing behind Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the polls.

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Newsom asked DeSantis when he would quit the race and give Nikki Haley the opportunity to challenge Trump. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has been shown in some polls to have stronger support than DeSantis as an alternative to Trump.

DeSantis stared at Newsom silently for a few seconds before responding with the phrase “You wish,” which he repeated several times.

“This is a slick, slippery politician whose state is failing. People are leaving California in droves,” DeSantis said.

To stress his belief that the left-leaning California was being poorly governed, DeSantis presented a map demonstrating the prevalence of human waste on the streets of San Francisco.

DeSantis put up a strong fight against Newsom, who is known for his debating skills. However, it is unlikely that his performance alone will be enough to revive his faltering campaign.

The Trump campaign, in an email sent to supporters prior to the debate, described DeSantis’ confrontation with Newsom as a “desperate” effort to attract attention, as his campaign is grappling with internal conflicts and changes in strategy.

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