A trust run by the parents of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife donated to one of their son-in-law’s biggest political rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to contribution records reviewed by SFGATE.
The Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee reported that the Siebel Family Revocable Trust — which is run by Jennifer Siebel-Newsom’s parents, Kenneth F. Siebel Jr. and Judith A. Siebel — donated $5,000 to the PAC on April 6, 2022.
The news of the Siebel family’s donation, which was first reported by Fox News on Thursday, comes exactly one week after Newsom called on his 2 million Twitter followers to donate money to the Republican governor’s Democratic opponent in this year’s general election, Charlie Crist.
“Time to make Ron DeSantis a one-term governor,” Newsom wrote. “I’m pledging $100k right now to @CharlieCrist. Who will join me in helping Charlie become the next Governor of Florida?”
A single $5,000 donation is a relative drop-in-the-bucket in such elections — the top donation to the Friends of DeSantis PAC so far is $10 million, according to Transparency USA — but conservative pundits were quick to mock Newsom, who has taken to sniping at DeSantis on Twitter in recent months for policies the Florida governor has enacted in his state.
“[With] this new contribution revelation from his in-laws, I think it’s safe to say Thanksgiving is going to be very awkward this year,” Fox News Commentator Tomi Lahren said Thursday on her radio show. “Gavin’s in-laws have good taste. Their daughter, not so much.”
Monetary donations to Republican candidates and causes are reportedly not unusual for the Siebels, but adding to the awkwardness of this specific donation is that Newsom and DeSantis are among voters’ top-choices to represent their respective parties in a future presidential race. The two have been more-or-less at each other’s throats since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newsom escalated tensions earlier this year when he began running cable ads on Fox News in Florida that urged residents in that state to move to California, and tempers have not cooled since then.
DeSantis has showed slightly more restraint than Newsom during their feud — “Everyone wants to talk about me and Florida,” DeSantis told reporters in July after Newsom’s attack ads aired. “I’m just sitting here, little old me, doing my job.” — but we’re all a little petty at heart. It wouldn’t be surprising if the donation by Newsom’s in-laws were mentioned in a future volley from DeSantis.
Newsom, who has passed draconian Covid restrictions for the masses of Californians in his state in the past but had refused to follow them himself, has admitted his daughter is unvaccinated and has attended multiple gatherings one of which he was caught at the French Laundry with fellow Democratic lawmakers during the height of Covid restrictions.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the Newsom’s Thanksgiving celebration this year, despite discouraging his constituents in the past from gathering or family holidays, he will almost certainly continue to tell the rest of us to celebrate alone. I’m certain there will be plenty of helpings of drama for everyone this year.