Trump and Christie Decry DeSantis’ Attempts to Thwart Disney

The battle between DeSantis and Disney isn’t over yet.

©Orlando Business Journal

Now that we know what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has planned for Disney World (including potentially gaining control of property rights, taxation, and tolling), other political leaders have started weighing in on the fight.

During a press conference on April 17th, 2023, DeSantis outlined his plans to go after control of Disney, including declaring the agreements Disney made allowing them to develop land invalid. He called them “legal fiction” and said the agreements were not “gonna fly” with him.

Obtained via Click Orlando Livestream

DeSantis is referring to development agreements the former Reedy Creek Improvement District (now called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District) made with Disney, giving them wide control despite a new, DeSantis-appointed Board now in charge of the District.

Reedy Creek

Disney has consistently defended its agreements, stating that they were legal and properly noticed. CEO Bob Iger weighed in on DeSantis’ attacks, calling them “anti-business” and “anti-Florida,” and detailed the company’s plans to invest $17 billion into Disney World and create 13,000 new jobs over the next ten years.

Magic Kingdom

Now, other leaders have commented on the feud as well. According to Politico, Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, admonished how DeSantis has handled the Disney drama.

Christie commented, “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.” He continued, “I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative, based on his actions.”

Spaceship Earth in EPCOT

Christie isn’t the only former conservative leader to share his thoughts, as Former President Donald Trump shared a post on his Truth Social website slamming DeSantis’ actions as well, stating that he is being “absolutely destroyed by Disney.”

Trump continued on, noting that DeSantis’ moves are “all so unnecessary,” even calling it “a political stunt.”

©Orlando Business Journal

In an interview with CNN, current New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu shared, “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,” and that it isn’t good for the Republican party.

Presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s political action committee shared a statement and said that “after a devastating and embarrassing blow to his efforts to rein in Disney World, Ron DeSantis has proposed some new neighbors to the amusement park — criminals.”

Reedy Creek

It isn’t only conservatives bashing DeSantis’ latest moves, either. Co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, Scott Dworkin, commented on Twitter, “One can bet Disney/allies of Disney have private investigators looking into everything DeSantis has ever done. Into every dime he’s ever spent or received.”

Haley and Dworkin are both talking about the potential for the DeSantis-controlled board to develop land — something DeSantis says he “wasn’t even thinking about” until now.

According to him, several ideas have been suggested. “People have said…maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks…maybe you need another state prison. Who knows?”

Obtained via Click Orlando Livestream — Governor DeSantis

Richard Foglesong, a professor emeritus at Rollins College and author of Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando, told NPR, “He’s talking like Bernie, the socialist. What Republican candidate for major office talks like this?” Foglesong is referring to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

It’s clear this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing about the Disney and DeSantis fight, and we’ll be keeping an eye out for more updates. Stay tuned to AllEars for the latest.

Learn More About the DeSantis and Disney Drama Here

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