Ron DeSantis— The feud between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney Company has escalated, with DeSantis threatening to escalate the conflict.
The governor’s fight against the entertainment magnate, on the other hand, has been chastised for its tenacity.
Ron DeSantis slammed Disney this week for taking recent steps to stymie his efforts to get control of Disney’s Orlando parks and businesses.
“We’ll make sure that we keep them in their pen, one way or another,” DeSantis said on Wednesday.
Authority over the property
The Florida governor was in South Carolina for an event, an early presidential primary state.
Ron DeSantis has yet to officially launch his candidacy for president, but many see him as Donald Trump’s main rival for the Republican nomination in 2024.
In promoting his new book, he referred to Disney as a “Magic Kingdom of Woke Corporatism.”
DeSantis’ selection of a board of supervisors to manage Disney World’s special tax district has raised the pressure on the company.
Officials sought to retake possession of things they think Disney wrongfully seized before seizing control on Wednesday.
The board acted only two days before Ron DeSantis proposed a spate of anti-Disney World legislation, including restrictions on nearby property development.
“People have said maybe create a state park, try to do more amusement parks,” he said.
“Someone said state prisons. Who knows?”
The year-long battle
The spat between Ron DeSantis and Disney began in 2022, when the business challenged a contentious Republican-passed Florida law.
Critics called the regulation “Don’t Say Gay” because it forbade classroom discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The conflict began with Disney’s objection.
The Republican-controlled legislature and Ron DeSantis targeted the special tax district that has allowed Disney to self-regulate for decades.
His willingness to utilize his political position to combat cultural battles increased his support inside the Republican Party.
Moving on the national stage before making a presidential declaration, on the other hand, drew criticism from Republicans and others.
The country is watching
Formerly an ally of Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump now often criticizes the governor.
He said on Tuesday that Disney was ruining the governor.
Meanwhile, Republican former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who brought up the Disney controversy, questioned DeSantis’ political ability.
“That’s not the guy I want sitting across from [President Xi Jinping of China or Russia President Vladimir Putin] and trying to resolve what’s happening in Ukraine, if you can’t see around a corner [Disney CEO] Bob Iger created for you.”
On Monday, Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu stated that the Disney conflict muddles the Republican message.
Christie and Sununu are either running for president or being discussed as prospective candidates, so they might be DeSantis’s opponents.
However, some surveys from the likely Republican primary field showed Ron DeSantis losing support to Trump.
DeSantis’ press secretary cited a statement released on Tuesday accusing Disney of entering into a “legally deficient, 11th-hour agreement to preserve their special privileges.”
“There’s an attempt to subvert the will of the people of Florida, and Governor DeSantis will not stand for that,” said Griffin in response to Christie’s criticism.
In 1967, the Reedy Creek Improvement District was formed as a municipal government.
It delegated to Disney regulatory power over public services and other obligations at the 25,000-acre parks and resorts in Florida.
Every year, the entertainment corporation paid Reedy Creek millions of dollars in taxes to fund services and municipal duties.
Following Disney’s rejection of the Florida bill, Republicans in Congress introduced legislation to declassify it.
Concerns were made that if the state withdrew Disney’s self-government status, residents in two counties in Florida would suffer a huge tax burden.
The state legislature abandoned the idea in February and replaced it with a proposal that renames the district and gives DeSantis control over five board members.
The current Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board, on the other hand, stated in March that their predecessors had stripped them of most of their authority before leaving.
The previous board decided in February to take over administration of the district’s growth to Disney.
During its meeting on Wednesday, the new board resolved to issue a new resolution next week that would nullify the development agreement.
The decision was approved unanimously after several voices, including state agency officials and board legal experts, criticized Disney over the matter.
“The bottom line is that Disney engaged in a caper worthy of Scrooge McDuck to try to evade Florida law,” said David Thompson, the board’s trial counsel.
Thompson and another attorney, Alan Lawson, said that the development agreement was null and illegal because the previous board failed to notify impacted property owners.