Ron DeSantis rebuts Republican critics of Disney battle

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'Don't tell me that it's free market principles.'

Ron DeSantis will never back down from his fight with The Walt Disney Co., no matter what Republican critics say.

“Don’t tell me that it’s free market principles to have one company run its own government and live under different rules than everybody else. They had an arrangement that no other business has ever had. It’s outlived its usefulness and there’s a new Sheriff in town,” DeSantis said on the Guy Benson Show.

The Governor blasted the idea that the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, which ran from 1967 until last year, should have bound him.

“I was never a part of Reedy Creek that happened before I was born. And so that’s just ridiculous to try to say that,” DeSantis said during Monday’s appearance.

DeSantis then took issue with a Nikki Haley argument that he should refund political donations to Disney given his ongoing animus.

“It’s also ridiculous when some of these people say that because Disney had donated to PACs that are supporting me that I’m somehow hypocritical for opposing them on some of this stuff. No, that’s what a leader should do,” DeSantis said.

“You know, you run campaigns, people can give or not, but they’re given for me to be a leader and make my best judgment. I shouldn’t be indebted to somebody because they did that and not do what I think is right. And so, those contributions don’t influence me. I think that’s what we should expect from our leaders, not the opposite.”

Haley has urged DeSantis to “hash it out” with Disney, but she’s far from alone among Republicans when it comes to urging DeSantis to find common ground with Disney.

“I think he thrives on news cycles. He wants to do whatever allows him to get in the news cycle, but he’s off by half,” said Vivek Ramaswamy.

Last month on Fox News Sunday, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said DeSantis punishing Disney was “not what Republicanism is about. It’s not what a conservative is about.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence likened “government activism” from DeSantis to that of California’s Gavin Newsom, comparing Florida’s handling of Disney to how California dealt with abortion pills.

“To me, it’s the same kind of government activism — one on the Right, one on the Left, and both are wrong,” Pence told Yahoo! News.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu made similar points, contending that “if we’re trying to beat the Democrats at being big-government authoritarians, remember what’s going to happen.”

“Eventually they’ll have power in a state or in a position, and they’ll penalize conservative organizations and conservative nonprofits and conservative ideas. That’s the worst precedent in the world.”

Former President Donald Trump has made similar points.

“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,” Trump opined.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shares this view, saying he doesn’t “think Ron DeSantis is a conservative based on his actions towards Disney.”

Florida’s Senators have also warned against escalating the battle further.

“I think where it gets problematic in the eyes of some people is when you start creating the idea — and I’m not saying we’re there yet as a state — but the idea that somehow like if you run crossways with us politically, whoever is in charge, then you know, you wind up in the crosshairs of the Legislature for political purposes,” Marco Rubio said.

“We’ve got to figure out how to work with our companies. My goal is to sit down with people and find out: ‘How do you get things done?’” Rick Scott added.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • SteveHC

    May 15, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    “The Governor blasted the idea that the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, which ran from 1967 until last year, should have bound him… ‘I was never a part of Reedy Creek that happened before I was born. And so that’s just ridiculous to try to say that.’ “

    – The Constitution of the United States *also* “happened” before he was born. So I suppose if he were to ever become President he’d feel free to dispose of that as well and contruct a new Congress to replace it with one to his own liking? In the USA part of the responsibilities of elected officials is to honor the legal committments jade by those who went before them…

    • SteveHC

      May 15, 2023 at 6:39 pm

      – Sorry, “made” by those before them. Apologies for the typo.

    • Daryle Scott

      May 17, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      Absolutely correct! Florida made a deal with Disney and it’s worked beautifully for Florida. Disney is out biggest employer, they pay the most taxes and they attract millions of tourists who support our businesses and also pay taxes. To now try to weasel out of the deal, because Disney dared to speak their mind about one piece of legislation, is pathetic. Floridians support Disney!

  • corruption and abuse of power in Florida

    May 15, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    The fact is is the Santis does not understand business. He is anti-business and obviously anti-Florida all for a personal vendetta.

    No, with respect to the special district or special privileges it’s common place for a municipality or state to provide special favors to those businesses that are going to drive substantial taxes for the state. Which Disney does

    Now, what are you always fails to mention is that the villages, along with some other special districts that are set up to get special privileges and be able to run their own government. Now there are other special districts in Florida that DeSantis has left them alone to do what they want. Primarily because one they didn’t challenge DeSantis into there, a republican voters in in those districts.

    No, that doesn’t smell like corruption and abuse of power. I don’t know what is. The entire state of Florida is really encroaching upon abuse of power and corruption at the highest level.

    And with that being said, I think the federal government needs to step in and investigate DeSantis is corruption. And screw it if he’s whether he’s running for president or not governments, do not have the power to abuse it citizens, or the businesses within just because they speak out against the government policies

    This is supposed to be America and we can freely speak out against our government or particular politicians. This is not an autocracy where you can speak out against the government. This is what it’s like in Russia or China, or other communist type regimes. Don’t speak out against liter or you’ll be punished.

    No, he sugarcoat shit and he lies, but any intelligent person is able to see right through his lies

    And I wish that Bob Iger would run for president. He would literally take DeSantis to school and back. DeSantis is a failed leader. And everything he did was for political gain. He never worked a real job never did anything of substance, except just position himself to pretend like he’s going to be president.

  • corruption and abuse of power in Florida

    May 15, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    It’s going to be comical when DeSantis is interviewed by real journalist, he’s gonna lose control. He’s not disciplined. He has a want to be ego. There is it gonna be is it to his own detriment. He’s literally destroying any chances. He had a political career.

  • Michael K

    May 15, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Governor DeathSentence’s ego-driven feud with Disney is costing Florida taxpayers $16 million in legal fees. He cannot see beyond his personal political ambitions and is shooting from the hip.

    He thinks he’s throwing red meat at his small un-educated and dwindling MAGA base, but all he is doing is alienating a broad swath of Americans who see a petulant bully who thinks he’s smart but does not think things through. Keep digging, Ron. Keep digging.

  • Joe

    May 15, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    He’s a lying liar and bad for America. Just say no to Tiny D.

    • Michael K

      May 16, 2023 at 8:48 am

      Just read this morning that DeathSentence cannot even be honest about who won the 2020 presidential election. That’s not courage, and it certainly isn’t truthful.

  • PeterH

    May 16, 2023 at 7:25 am

    Neither DeSantis nor Trump will ever be elected President. America has had its fill of narcissistic thick skulled, thin skinned totalitarian wannabes!

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 16, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Rhonda sure can go on about how he doesn’t like Disney doing what it’s done in and for Florida for 50+ years, yet he has no explanation for WHY he doesn’t like it. Rhonda your slip is showing, and we can ALL see it.

  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    May 16, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    He’s dug himself a hole he doesn’t know how to climb out of, so his only option here is to keep digging.

    Everybody outside his info bubble knows this is a losing issue for him. Just look at his tanking poll numbers.

  • Cheesy Floridan

    May 17, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    He is the worst elected official I can remember for the state of Florida. I hope the American people see how bad he is and he loses in the primary. All the money spent on this silly fight could have helped Floridians to lower home owners insurance. We accept we get hurricanes its why we stay after a big storm rolls by. But sky high home owners insurance doesn’t sit well with anyone.

Comments are closed.


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