Gavin Newsom is a figure in national politics where you either love the man, or you hate him. The controversial governor of California has found himself the center of story after story in terms of both state and national politics, and his popularity is something that many other aspiring politicians have noticed.

Drawing Trump’s Attention

This popularity has drawn the ire of yet another national figure, Donald Trump. The former president has been making the rounds on his third run for president, and it’s no secret that there’s no love lost between him and Gavin Newsom.

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

Gavin Newsom has made clear his distaste for the former president, long before he took the gubernatorial seat of California in 2019. Likewise, there is no doubt that Trump dislikes Newsom equally, and the pair have created some intensely oppositional headlines during their times in politics.

Not an Opponent Most Want

Historically, Trump is not someone whose path other politicians wanted to cross. The man is crass and has a habit of speaking his mind and going off script, even when the script is written for him, and it has resulted in some significant verbal barbs and stances that, to this day, are being spoken about when it comes to Trump.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Among these verbal and physical missteps are the time when Trump called Mexican immigrants “criminals and rapists,” and when he physically imitated a journalist who, it was later discovered, was in the middle of a seizure during a broadcast.

King of Unflattering Nicknames

More than some of the things that Trump says in casual speeches and conversation, though, the man has become famous for giving his fellow politicians unflattering nicknames. The most famous of these nicknames is, of course, the “Nasty Woman” comments that he made about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign season when the pair went head to head.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

His political rivals are not the only ones who Trump has hurled jabs at, either. Ron Desantis, governor of Florida and sometimes ally, sometimes rival of Donald Trump has found himself under Trump’s fire, being called “Ron DeSanctimonious” during his short-lived presidential campaign.

Trump Focused on Newsom

Most recently, though, Trump has focused on Gavin Newsom. This is no news; as mentioned, the pair have been at odds the entirety of their time in the political sphere. However, with Donald Trump gearing up for yet another bid for the White House and Newsom a staunch supporter of President Biden, it’s inevitable that the pair will clash in one way or the other.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A recent visit from Donald Trump to the border of Mexico and the United States is where Trump unveiled the newest nickname that he came up with for the governor of California. “I mean, you look at this governor, ‘New Scum’ from California,” Trump said, while delivering a speech in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Necessary, or Diversionary?

This particular visit to the southern border of the United States is one that Trump has been simultaneously lauded and criticized for making in the first place. Trump has gone out of his way to make the immigration crisis a figurehead for his 2024 presidential campaign, and many believe that the attention from politicians is necessary in the wake of the growing crisis.

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However, there are many who saw his visit to the border as nothing more than a diversion tactic. This is in wake of comments that were leaked from current Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who revealed that part of the reason that he wouldn’t bring the bipartisan border bill to the floor of the House was because Donald Trump asked him not to.

Mixed Press Around the Visit

In light of the mixed press surrounding his visit, it’s understandable that Trump would want to divert some of the attention away from himself, and Newsom is an easy target. California has become a big player in the conversation around the immigration crisis, with tens of thousands of illegal migrants crossing into California daily via the southern border.

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Newsom has painted California as a safe harbor for these individuals, and has been diligently working at passing policy that makes life a little easier for migrants who make their way into California, for whatever reason. One of the policy changes that Newsom has signed into law is an adjustment to the state Medicaid program which makes all immigrants – illegal and legal – below a certain wage eligible for state care.

Trump Trying Out the New Nickname

This is a decision that has drawn both criticism and compassion from many people who have been watching the immigration crisis closely. And, of course, this policy is one of many that Trump could have been referring to with his new nickname for Newsom.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Isn’t that his name, ‘New Scum’? What he’s done to California is unbelievable,” Trump said to the crowd of his supporters in Eagle Pass. The comment was met with applause and laughter, and Trump continued on to his next talking point without further discussing Newsom.

Simultaneous Biden and Trump Visits

Trump’s visit to Eagle Pass came at the same time that President Biden was visiting Brownsville, Texas, meeting with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers as well as other high-ranking individuals to discuss the border crisis.

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Like Trump, this visit appears to be both necessary, and strategic. Biden has been endeavoring to prove to both Congress and the American people that he is firm in his stance to secure the border, and that he is willing to reach across the aisle and work with hardliner Republicans in order to do so.

Republicans Hampering Progress

Biden’s job has not been made easy by Republicans like Mike Johnson, who appear to be going out of their way to impede any sort of bipartisan progress in regards to the border. Still, Biden’s visit to Brownsville shows that he still sees the border as a significant legislative priority, and that he hasn’t forgotten about it simply because the first border bill did not pass.

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Unfortunately for Biden, much like Trump, critics believe that the visit was both a stunt, and too little, too late. While the border crisis has improved in the first months of 2024 compared to the record highs in December of 2023, it is still a significant problem that can no longer be solved with a little good press and some hand shaking

Biden Needs to Make a Choice

This fact has left Biden in a bit of a pickle, and has left him vulnerable to being attacked about the border on all sides. Hardliners want to see Biden close the border altogether, and many people believe that he has the power to do so through the Invasion Act of the Constitution.

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Immigration sympathizers have called Biden too harsh on the border, particularly in the border bill that didn’t pass. Many want to see easier paths to asylum for those who qualify to seek it, and paths to citizenship for individuals who were brought illegally to the United States very young.

Balancing a Divided Congress

Balancing the very different priorities of individuals in his Congress and administration has been a balancing act that, unfortunately, many do not believe Biden is succeeding at. Significant immigration reform is going to be necessary in order to address the crisis at the border, and in a heavily divided Congress, that doesn’t appear to be on the table.

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This problem is compounded even more by Trump, who appears to want the border as a campaign issue ahead of 2024. If the comments from Speaker Johnson are to be believed, it’s unlikely that Trump would allow his loyalists to pass a bill that would improve the border ahead of the election, regardless of whether he ultimately wins this November.

State Reforms Are Necessary

Unfortunately, this means that many immigration reforms have currently fallen to the states. California’s more liberal policies and Texas’ hardline reforms have caused significant friction for immigrants, and snarky comments like Trump’s ‘New Scum’ nickname only fan the flames of public discontent.

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During his speech, Trump made sure to drive the point home by pointing out that “our soldiers, our vets aren’t being taken care of, but people that come into our country illegally are.” Of course, veteran affairs and the immigration crisis are two separate issues, but the rhetoric works for Trump, and it’s unlikely he’ll stop there.

Will the Nickname Stick?

Trump’s ire with his fellow politicians comes and goes as regularly as the weather, so it’s uncertain if this new Newsom nickname is going to stick. While Hillary’s “Nasty Woman” nickname still lives in the public zeitgeist nearly a decade after it was first spoken, dozens of other Trump nicknames have come and gone with the wind.

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Whether it sticks or not, Newsom appears to be entirely unbothered by the comment. His office has not released a public statement regarding Trump’s jab, and it seems that the governor is placing his attention where he believes it should be prioritized: doing the job that he was elected to do.