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California Gov. Newsom calls out Trump at Vatican, accuses him of "open corruption"

California Gov. Newsom accuses Trump of "open corruption" at Vatican conference
California Gov. Newsom accuses Trump of "open corruption" at Vatican conference 03:34

SACRAMENTO — California Governor Gavin Newsom called out former President Donald Trump at the Vatican on Thursday, accusing him of "open corruption" at a Vatican conference on climate change.

The governor was an invited guest by Pope Francis at the Vatican Climate Summit. He took the opportunity on the world stage to inject some presidential politics into the conversation.

"My name is Gavin Newsom. I come from a state you may have heard of, California," Gov. Newsom said.

Politics, with the pontiff.

Gov. Newsom was called to the global headquarters of the Catholic Church for a climate conference and touted California's aggressive green energy goals. He went all in to blast Trump.

"Open corruption, a billion dollars to pollute our states, to pollute our country, and to pollute this planet," Gov. Newsom said.

The governor called out Trump over a report that he held a Mar-a-Lago meeting with oil executives to ask for massive campaign contributions in exchange for relaxed regulations.

"He openly asked them for $1 billion to roll back the environmental progress," Newsom said.

"They're like, 'Oh my God. That's partisan pandering.' Well, no it's not, that's campaigning," Republican strategist Tab Berg said.

Berg said the reported request would have broken no laws.

Congressional Democrats have launched an investigation.

"It's also kind of insane that the man who still is more than 60 days late in providing a State of the State report to the public flies all the way to Italy to talk about climate change," Berg said of Newsom.

Sonoma State politics Professor David McCuan said Newsom wants to be seen as a leader on the world stage.

"It doesn't end the speculation about his political future," Sonoma State politics professor David McCuan said.

He flew to Israel following the October 7 attack and to China to meet Xi Jinping, also about climate concerns.

"Someone who is playing a prominent role beyond the borders of California, to stay relevant in the public conversation," McCuan said.

Gov. Newsom's ambitions and policies, now even preaching his politics at the Vatican.

"The polluted heart of the climate crisis are these fossil fuel companies," Newsom said.

McCuan added that Newsom was using climate change as a moral issue at the Vatican, something that Pope Francis has also expressed.

As of right now, a Pew Research Poll shows Catholic Americans are favoring Donald Trump over President Biden by 12 percent as we near the 2024 Presidential Election in November.

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