‘That’s spite’: Francis Suarez knocks Ron DeSantis over costly ‘personal vendetta’ with Disney

Francis Suarez Ron DeSantis
‘I mean, that’s the kind of stuff that Joe Biden does.’

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is hammering Gov. Ron DeSantis over his “personal vendetta” against Disney, which took another sharp turn Thursday when the company canceled plans to spend $1 billion to bring more than 2,000 workers to the Sunshine State.

He said DeSantis has grossly mishandled the year-long spat with Disney, which first drew fire from the vindictive Governor after it spoke out against Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law restricting classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation.

“He took an issue that was a winning issue that we all agreed on, which was parental rights for K through third graders,” he told Blake Burman on NewsNation’s The Hill. “It looks like now it’s something that’s spite or maybe potentially a personal vendetta, which has cost the state now potentially 2,000 jobs and a billion-dollar investment,”

Suarez’s remarks came hours after Disney announced it was nixing a plan to bring its Walt Disney Imagineering division to Lake Nona, a growing area near its massive theme park in Orlando. The plan involved development of a $1 billion campus, which was set to open in 2026.

The decision came just over a week after Disney CEO Bob Iger indicated the company was rethinking its investment in Florida due to “retaliation” by DeSantis and the GOP-controlled Legislature.

It was the latest salvo in a lengthy fight between Disney and the Governor, who in February dissolved the company’s Reedy Creek district that gave it self-governing power. Disney sued DeSantis last month after a board he appointed voided an agreement the company made to safeguard the district from a state takeover. A DeSantis-appointed tourism board then sued Disney in turn and, shortly after, scratched Lake Nona plan.

Suarez said making rash decisions that lose jobs and money is something one would expect of the man whose office both he and DeSantis might soon be seeking.

“I mean, that’s the kind of stuff that Joe Biden does, you know? He canceled the Keystone pipeline and other pipelines out of spite that cost Americans 42,000 jobs,” he said. “And you know, the one thing (DeSantis) has in common with the President is he hasn’t spent much time in the private sector, and I wonder if that influences his thinking on some of this stuff.”

Suarez has been ramping up criticism of DeSantis over the past month as he edges closer to a possible bid for the White House that could put them on a collision course for the Republican nomination.

He said Thursday he is “strongly considering” running and that he has to decide in the next few weeks.

“I need to make a decision soon, because … the debates are coming up quickly on Aug. 20,” he said. “For someone like me, (who) has ascended quickly but is still relatively unknown nationally, you have to be on the debate to tell your story.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • KurtinOC

    May 19, 2023 at 12:35 am

    Who is this clown ? Can we send this slime ball back to where he came from?

  • SteveHC

    May 19, 2023 at 12:54 am

    If Florida’s next round of elections simply produces more of the same in the governorship and legislature, anyone who thinks the remainder of Disney’s originally planned $17 billion investment in Florida wouldn’t be adversely affected is clearly living on some other planet.

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 19, 2023 at 7:20 am

    Good morning America,
    Attention All Politicians,
    Any and all of you who fail to endorse future POTUS Ron Desantis will be put on my, Earl Pitts American’s, dreaded “DO NOT RE-ELECT LIST”. Be so advised Republicans, RINO’s, Democrats, NPA’s, Independants, Dook 4 Brains Lefties, everybody. The entire rightous might of The Earl Pitts American Fan Club will be activaly working 24/7 to prevent you from ever winning an election ever again.
    As you know adding your name to my, Earl Pitts Ametican’s list means its totally over for you.
    You too Matt, there will be no “carve out” for Matt Gaitts.
    I, Earl Pitts American, have spoken.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Riverman

    May 19, 2023 at 7:45 am

    False flag! Disney is actually cancelling the Orlando office park for purely financial reasons illustrated by drastic stock price losses and previously announced pull backs on their film and streaming content production. The imagineering fiasco was proven to be hugely expensive and far less profitable than the parks division. Desantis is correct in reining in the Disney Rredy creek set aside and requiring Disney to abide by Florida statutes and pay appropriate PROPERTY TAXES for the TRILLIONS of $ of real property they cannot afford to abandon because it is their sole resource if ready cash. The mayor is talking only as a politician not a financial tactician working for Floridas future sovereignty and economic success. Go Desantis- but not as a 2024 presidential candidate. Resolving the Biden destruction will take 10 years- so allow Trump to do the hard lifting for 4 years- concentrate your resources on 28 like George Bush did from the Texas governorship. Keep your powder dry in 24 and start running in 26 to ensure that win.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 19, 2023 at 8:36 am

      Whatever Disney’s reasoning, Rhonda put their own head on the chopping block of blame. Rhonda totally owns their petty, amateur move, putting their own ego out there to take punches and blame. It’s just like when they were a little kid in school, getting beat up regularly while the bullies yelled “Why do you keep punching yourself in the face, Rhonda?” But now Rhonda is the bully, repeating the cycle of violence from their own youth. It’s almost like Rhonda’s a person who cannot learn from their own experiences.

    • M. Leiva

      May 23, 2023 at 12:49 pm

      You seem to be misinformed.
      Get your facts correct before you try to influnce others with your comment.
      Both Trump and DeSantis are “FACISTS”. It’s like glorifying Htler and Musslimni. if you don’t know the meaning, consult Dr. LeBon !

  • Janice

    May 19, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    I feel so badly for the citizens of Florida. DeSantis has never done what was best for the people of Florida. He is an authoritarian mini me of crock Donald Trump. They are destroying our amazing democracy. They are both bullies only interested in themselves. We must end these villians’ political careers NOW. DeSantis vs Disney is totally a joke!!

Comments are closed.


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