This story was first published by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the choice between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump is a choice between “daylight and darkness” at a Biden-Harris campaign rally near Pittsburgh on Friday.

“Liberalism and illiberalism, it is not a complicated choice,” the Democrat told an audience of about 100 people at a Biden campaign office in Castle Shannon. “We’ve seen rights regressions all across this country, voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, not just access, by the way, to abortion, access to contraception.”

Throughout his speech, Newsom compared decisions made under the Biden administration with those made by Trump and other Republican leaders to argue for Biden’s reelection. 

It was a solid show of support from the California governor, who, along with Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, has been the subject of speculation as a possible replacement for Biden on the Democratic ticket should the president decide to drop out of the race. After a poor performance in last week’s presidential debate, Biden has said he is remaining in the race, despite some calling for him to step down in favor of a younger candidate. Newsom will also appear at a Saturday rally for Biden in Bucks County. 

 On Friday, Newsom referenced the U.S. Department of Labor June jobs report that showed 206,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month. The White House noted in a statement that 15.7 million jobs have been created during Biden’s tenure.

“I know when he gets off the golf course, Donald Trump will learn once again how well this damn economy is doing in this context — 206,000 new jobs today,” Newsom said. “I can’t believe we’re even debating this. I can’t believe we’re even defensive about the economy.”

He also pointed to the 4,240 books banned in U.S. schools and libraries in 2023 as an example of censorship under Republican leadership. 

Trump has frequently stated in rallies this year that he plans to orchestrate a mass deportation of undocumented immigrants if elected. In Newsom’s home state of California, 27% of the population is foreign-born, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, in the most recent data from 2022. The Pew Research Center found that 1.9 million Californians were undocumented immigrants in 2021, the largest number of any state.

“You’re talking about ripping families apart. You’re talking about mothers and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and kids and grandkids that will be thrown into detention camps in a mass deportation movement,” Newsom said. “That’s the plan, detailed plan that Donald Trump has put out. Like I said, daylight and darkness. This is an existential moment in American history.” 

The Trump campaign did not immediately reply to a request for comment Friday.

Newsom’s speech was preceded by Pennsylvania state Reps. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, and Nick Pisciottano, D-West Mifflin, who took turns arguing the importance of voting Democrats into office.

“We, as always, are the party of ideas, and we make a difference for working people. That’s all that the Democrats have ever been about,” Miller said. “I know one person who knows every issue when it comes to working people, and that’s Joe Biden.” 

Pisciottano, who is running to replace retiring state Sen. Jim Brewster, said the Biden-Harris campaign is “investing in Democrats up and down the ticket.” 

“We need to send Bob Casey back to the United States Senate,” Pisciottano said. “We need to send Chris Deluzio and Summer Lee back to Congress. We need to win the attorney general’s race because we need an attorney general in Pennsylvania who’s going to follow and enforce the rule of law.”

Newsom has been appearing on behalf of Biden at campaign events across the country, including in Michigan on July 4. At the rally in Lebanon Shops in Castle Shannon, he said he missed his daughter’s 12th birthday as a result. 

In an otherwise energetic speech, Newsom apologized for “being a little sober” about the state of abortion in the United States.  

“That gets personal for all of us with kids, grandkids,” Newsom said.

He spoke of a 12-year-old girl who was raped and gave birth in Mississipi. While Mississipi does have an exception that allows for abortions in the case of rape, there are no abortion providers left in the state after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and her mother was unable to afford the costs associated with traveling to the nearest provider in Chicago. 

Former President Donald Trump appointed three of the conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. 

“She just turned 13. Now she’s figuring out who can take care of her kid as she enters the seventh grade. That’s Donald Trump’s America. That’s the world we’re living in and the tyranny of Donald Trump and this Supreme Court,” Newsom said.

 Newsom said that Pennsylvanians’ votes are vital to a Democratic victory. 

“With respect to California, we’re about running up the popular vote, you’re quite literally about the future, fate, the future of democracy in Pennsylvania,” Newsom said.

Abigail is a Pittsburgh-based freelance multimedia journalist and senior at Chatham University. Email her at

Abigail Hakas

Abigail is a Pittsburgh-based freelance multimedia journalist and senior at Chatham University. Email her at