Ron DeSantis claims Disney is ‘transing’ kids in Republican debate

Ron DeSantis, pictured.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has hit out at Disney during a Republican presidential debate, this time claiming the company is “transing” kids. 

DeSantis was joined by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley on Wednesday (10 January) for the GOP debate, which was held at Drake University in Des Moines. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, CNN’s Dana Bash, who moderated the debate along with colleague Jake Tapper, took the opportunity to ask DeSantis about his ongoing feud with Disney. 

Disney has publicly opposed DeSantis’ reviled ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, and in response, DeSantis has attempted to revoke Disney’s special tax district status in Florida.

Taking control of the self-governing district in February 2023, DeSantis declared “the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end” and said he is the “new sheriff in town”.  

Former president Trump, who is the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, has previously weighed in on the dispute and said the Florida governor is “being absolutely destroyed by Disney”. Trump even pondered if the company would move from the Sunshine State altogether.

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In response to Bash’s question, DeSantis said: “The proper role of government, if it means anything, is to protect our kids. And I’ve stood for the innocence of our kids. 

“It is wrong to sexualise the curriculum … it’s wrong to tell a kindergartener, like Disney wanted to do, that you can change your gender or tell a third-grader that you’re born in the wrong body.” 

DeSantis then went on to attack Haley for inviting Disney to South Carolina “even though they were involved in transing kids”.

As if making up a completely new word wasn’t enough, DeSantis didn’t stop there and accused Haley of being part of the “corporatist element” of the Republican Party. 

The Florida governor vowed to “not bow down to woke corporations” and added: “Nikki Haley will cave to the woke mob every time.”

Haley, who has been vocal in her anti-LGBTQ+ rights stace, used the debate to reaffirm her opposition to inclusive restrooms, trans girls’ participation in sports and life-saving gender-affirming care for minors.

It’s the second time this week that Haley has been slammed by her fellow Republicans, as on Monday (8 January), far-right conspiracy theorist and Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene accused Haley of supporting transgender kids and their parents.

Haley has frequently spoken out against trans rights and described improving them as a “trend”. She has also criticised the idea of trans women joining women’s sports teams and claimed that trans people are “erasing” women. 

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