Ron DeSantis’ attacks on Disney have Republicans claiming he’s ‘not a conservative’

Ron DeSantis in front of United States flags

Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ continued war with Disney is rubbing some GOP members the wrong way, with concerns his politics are testament to government overreach.

The controversial Republican governor, who appears to be gearing up for a 2024 presidential run, has created a platform for himself appealing to hardline conservatives by fighting against all-things “woke”

His self-imposed battle has placed him in direct opposition with the House of Mouse, one of Florida’s biggest employers.

Disney publicly opposes DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law, which the governor has described as being “fundamentally dishonest.”

DeSantis’ war with the company is stoking concerns from other figures in the Republican Party, who see his personal and political vendetta towards a private business as un-conservative and, even, immature. 

Former New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie told Semafor that DeSantis’ actions “rightfully makes a lot of people question [his] judgement and his maturity.”

You may like to watch

“I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative,” he said, adding that “as a conservative, the job of government is… to stay out of the business of business.”

Christie told the publication: “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,”

“I don’t think we should be heavily regulating business. I don’t think we should be telling businesses what to do, what to say, how to think,” the Republican politician also said. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence has also been named by US publication, The Hill, as being among other Republicans with concerns over DeSantis’ declining relationship with Disney.

DeSantis-Disney feud began with ‘Don’t Say Gay’

In March 2022, DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Bill – dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ – into law. The vague and sweeping legislation has been expanded twice since then and sees LGBTQ+ content and discussions banned across all school grades in the state of Florida. 

Following weeks of silence and strikes by LGBTQ+ staff, the CEO of the multi-billion dollar corporation, Bob Chapek, announced his opposition to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and said Disney would pause all its political donations in Florida. 

“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights, and I let you down,” he wrote in a company wide email to staff. 

“I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on — and I will be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility, and opportunity you deserve.”

During a virtual shareholders meeting, Chapek added: “While we’ve been strong supporters of the community for decades, I know that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill.

“We were opposed to the bill from the outset, and we chose not to take a public position because we felt we could be more effective working behind the scenes directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”

‘They do not run this state. They do not control this state’

DeSantis was quick to blast the company for challenging his politics, labelling Disney as run by “California corporate executives”. 

“For Disney to come out and put a statement and say that the bill should have never passed and that they are going to actively work to repeal it, I think, one, was fundamentally dishonest, but, two, I think that crossed the line,” The Hill quoted DeSantis as saying. 

“This state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives,” DeSantis added. “They do not run this state. They do not control this state.” 

The clash did not end there. 

In response to the company’s opposition of ‘Don’t Say Gay, DeSantis’ has sought to revoke Disney’s unique status in Florida, in that it has near-total control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in which it is based. 

The special agreement between the state and Disney, which was established in 1967, exempts the park and local area from nearly all state regulations, including property taxes. 

Taking control of the self-governing district in February, DeSantis declared “the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end” and he is the “new sheriff in town”. 

Disney, however, does not appear to be taking DeSantis’ shots lying down and is set to hold the world’s largest LGBTQ+ conference at the Orlando park in September. 

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit – which attracts more than 5,000 attendees every year – is certainly an interesting event choice for Disney amid the feud between the company and DeSantis. 

Ron DeSantis “destroyed” by Disney, says Trump

Former President Trump, who is also preparing for a 2024 presidential run, has also weighed in on the dispute. 

On Truth Social the former POTUS said the Florida governor is “being absolutely destroyed by Disney” and even pondered if the company would move from the state altogether.