The Daily Caller News Foundation – Mary Lou Masters on April 19, 2023
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest attack on Disney as being a “political STUNT,” the latest skirmish in the ongoing feud between the former president and the Florida governor.
DeSantis — likely to be Trump’s strongest 2024 opponent based on polling data — announced legislation on Monday to nullify Disney’s last-minute agreements to curb the governor’s new state control board intended to oversee Disney’s special district. Trump characterized DeSantis’ feud with Disney as a failed “P.R. plan” ahead of a widely expected presidential announcement from the governor, according to a Truth Social post.
“DeSanctus is being absolutely destroyed by Disney. His original P.R. plan fizzled, so now he’s going back with a new one in order to save face,” the former president said in the post. “Disney’s next move will be the announcement that no more money will be invested in Florida because of the Governor – In fact, they could even announce a slow withdrawal or sale of certain properties, or the whole thing. Watch! That would be a killer. In the meantime, this is all so unnecessary, a political STUNT! Ron should work on the squatter MESS!”
DeSantis signed legislation on Feb. 27 to revoke Disney’s self-governance within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and established a Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board, dissolving Reedy Creek. Disney anticipated the governor’s move, and signed last-second agreements giving development power back to the corporation’s executives, and barring DeSantis’ board from making decisions without Disney’s consent.
DeSantis’ feud with Disney began last year when the corporation criticized the governor’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, which critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” for not being inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said the governor’s efforts against the corporation are “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”
In 2019, the tourism industry in Orlando, home to Disney, added 463,000 jobs and generated $5.3 billion in tax revenue for the state, according to an Oxford Economics study.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is weighing a presidential run himself, also slammed DeSantis Tuesday, claiming his efforts against Disney weren’t “conservative,” as he was going against the principle of limited government.
“Where are we headed here now, that if you express disagreement in this country, the government is allowed to punish you? To me, that’s what I always thought liberals did, and now all of a sudden here we are participating in this with a Republican governor,” Christie told Semafor in an interview.
DeSantis’ political team did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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