ORLANDO, Florida – Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell didn't rule out running for California governor after teasing a potential challenge to Gov. Gavin Newsom in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
"He clearly is afraid," Grenell said of Newsom in an interview with Fox News on Saturday. "He clearly is getting nervous about this effort because he sees Democrats are supporting it."
When asked if he would run for governor, Grenell said: "We've got to concentrate on the recall. We're not there yet."
"I would just caution people to not put the cart before the horse," he added. "We have 200,000 volunteers working very hard. They don't feel like we have this yet. We have to keep getting signatures."
He did not answer a second question asking if he'd announce a run.
A source familiar confirmed to Fox News that Grenell will discuss a potential run for California governor with former President Donald Trump on Saturday night. Politico first reported that the two would be dining together.
Grenell in his CPAC speech appeared to hint that he may run for governor of California if the effort to get a recall election against Newsom is successful.
"In my three decades in American politics, I have never seen a better case for a recall than there is right now in California," Grenell said. "And of course if a public official is still failing to deliver on their promises. And if you can't limit their term or recall them in time. There's always one other option. You can run against them yourself."
The California recall petition has surpassed the number of signatures necessary to trigger a recall of Newsom, but those signatures still have to be verified. The recall would not be officially triggered until the signatures are verified.
Newsom has not directly addressed the recall efforts.
"I’m focused on the vaccine issue," he said when asked about the challenge, the New York Times reported. Other Democrats have also criticized the recall effort.
"This recall is a vanity project initiated by Trump Republicans, and if it is to qualify, would be a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars," state representative Lorena Gonzalez told NBC 7 San Diego.
Grenell expanded on his criticisms of Newsom in his conversation with Fox News on Saturday.
"Gavin Newsom has literally just basically mismanaged the state. This is not a partisan thing. He wasn't qualified to be a manager. And we've seen it over and over with a lot of different issues," he said.
"Out of 50 states, there's one state that still doesn't have churches open, gyms open or eating inside, and that's California," Grenell continued. "Obviously 49 states are trying to follow the science and Gavin Newsom is clearly not following the science because he stands as an outlier."
Grenell said there's a chance Republicans could trigger a recall and even win because of the widespread exasperation among the citizenry.
"It's not really about red state or blue state. It's about frustrated state," he said.
Fox Nation is a sponsor of CPAC.