California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday escalated his war of words with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate, calling him a “small, pathetic man” and floating kidnapping charges over a flight of migrants sent to his state.
The Democratic governor lobbed the barbs on Twitter after California’s attorney general said Florida’s government appeared to be behind a flight of South American migrants who arrived unexpectedly in Sacramento last week.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) said Monday the migrant flight is still under investigation, but the individuals who arrived in Sacramento by private plane “were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida.”
“This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. Kidnapping charges?” Newsom wrote in his tweet, linking to a section of California penal code and instructing “read the following.”
The code section highlighted in a screenshot reads, “Every person who, being out of this state, abducts or takes by force or fraud any person contrary to the law of the place where that act is committed, and brings, sends, or conveys that person within the limits of this state, and is afterwards found within the limits thereof, is guilty of kidnapping.”
DeSantis hasn’t claimed responsibility for the incident, but the migrants’ arrival in California comes as he and some other GOP governors have bused or flown migrants to Democratic-led cities throughout the U.S. in protest of border policies and security.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted last month that Texas alone had bused more than 17,000 migrants to “sanctuary cities.” Last fall, DeSantis — who is now a 2024 GOP presidential contender — sent two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
It remains unclear whether Florida is behind the latest Sacramento flight, or what the migrants understood about their travel.
The Hill has reached out to DeSantis’s office for comment on Newsom’s remarks.