As Gov. Ron DeSantis grows his fight against Disney, some 2024 presidential candidates are lashing out at the Florida governor for his yearlong feud with the entertainment giant.
On Wednesday, Disney sued DeSantis and his hand-picked oversight board for allegedly retaliating against the company and violating Disney’s First Amendment rights, among other claims.
“I don’t think the suit has merit, I think it’s political,” DeSantis told reporters in Jerusalem Wednesday.
The feud started after DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, where, shortly after, Disney issued a statement saying the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law.”
Here are all of the current and potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates who have gotten in on the Disney-DeSantis feud:
Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the feud this month by stating that DeSantis “is being absolutely destroyed by Disney.”
“Disney’s next move will be the announcement that no more money will be invested in Florida because of the Governor — In fact, they could even announce a slow withdrawal or sale of certain properties, or the whole thing. Watch! That could be a killer,” Trump posted on Truth Social.
GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley chimed in on the criticism Wednesday in an interview with Fox News and with a tweet, stating Disney should move to her home state of South Carolina because it is “not woke, but we’re not sanctimonious about it either.”
“South Carolina was a very anti-woke state. It still is,” Haley said in an interview with Fox News. “If Disney would like to move their hundreds of thousands of jobs to South Carolina and bring the billions of dollars with them, I’ll let them know I’ll be happy to meet them in South Carolina and introduce them to the governor and legislature that would welcome it.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie piled onto the Disney-DeSantis feud earlier this month in a Semafor interview when he demurred about DeSantis’ ability to helm the presidency because of the dispute. Christie and DeSantis have yet to declare their candidacy.
“That’s not the guy I want sitting across from President Xi [Jinping] … or sitting across from [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,” Christie said this month during a live streamed interview with Semafor, adding: “I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative, based on his actions towards Disney.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who has strongly hinted at a 2024 bid, said DeSantis’ feud with Disney is becoming a tit-for-tat because it’s not going as he had planned.
“Look, this has gone from kind of going after a headline to something that has devolved into an issue, and it convolutes the entire Republican message,” Sununu said on CNN this month. “I just don’t think — it’s not good for Governor DeSantis. I don’t think it’s good for the Republican party.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Fox News Sunday this week that the ongoing dispute is “not what Republicanism is about” and “not what a conservative is about.”
“I don’t believe if you’re on the left or the right of the political spectrum that government should not be telling business what they can and cannot do in terms of speech. And however you describe it, it appears to me that the governor did not like what Disney was doing in terms of what they were saying and exercising speech, so they’re being punished,” Hutchinson said.