(NewsNation) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom picked a fight with one of his cross-country counterparts on Twitter this week, calling out Alabama for its use of federal COVID-19 relief funds.
In a video posted Monday, Newsom took aim at the state for its decision to tap $400 million from the American Rescue Plan to build two new prisons. Lawsuits have been filed over the plans, and groups have called for a federal investigation.
“Alabama chose to invest in prisons and punishment,” Newsom said in the video. “California chose to invest in education and the future.”
He was referencing his own state’s use of some its federal COVID money, which went toward creating college savings accounts for 3.5 million kids. He implored Americans to “make a choice” and pitched “the California way.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey hit back, saying Californians have already made their choice by leaving the state “in droves.” California for the first time in history lost a U.S. House seat — and thereby an electoral vote — during reapportionment following the 2020 census.
“Down here, we’re focused on public safety,” Ivey tweeted in reply. “And if we’re talking covid relief, we invested billions in our students. Common sense — that’s the Alabama way.”
The state received more than $3 billion in COVID funds and has used it on initiatives includes academic support, facility upgrades and technology.
Newsom continued in another reply: “The same ‘common sense’ that led to your COVID death rate being so high your population shrunk for the first time? Or your homicide rate being the third highest in the country?”
It wasn’t the first time Newsom has criticized a Republican state leader. Last month, he bought a television advertisement in Florida, claiming Florida residents’ freedom is “under attack” with Gov. Ron DeSantis at the helm. Both have been seen as potential contenders for their party’s nomination in the 2024 presidential election.