Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bragged Saturday that he was the first governor to put The Walt Disney Company in its place after the mega-corporation tried to push back against his legislative agenda.
“I’m not backing down,” DeSantis said during a speech at the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Wisconsin.
“We run the state of Florida. They do not run the state of Florida.”
The Republican governor — and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential candidate — has been battling Disney since the conglomerate publicly opposed the state’s so called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity across all grades.
Disney put out a statement claiming that the legislation stifles LGBTQ+ communities, but DeSantis defended it as a measure that would prevent educators from “trying to shove an agenda down [children’s] throats.”
“Basically for over 50 years anything Disney has wanted in the political process it has gotten,” DeSantis said.
“So people said, ‘The fact that Disney has come out against this legislation for parents’ rights means there is no way the governor can sign it. They’re just too powerful.’”
DeSantis then bragged about stripping Disney’s longtime ability to self-govern itself within the state of Florida.
He signed a bill into law Friday that gives a new board he controls the power to oversee development in the 25,000 acres surrounding Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The Central Tourism Oversight District Board — whose members are appointed by DeSantis — replaced a Disney-controlled district, effectively wresting control from the company and handing it to the governor.
“They are no longer permitted to govern themselves in the state of Florida. They are going to be held accountable. And there’s a new sheriff in town,” DeSantis boasted.
However, Disney has filed suit against the state, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated by DeSantis’ move and the old, Disney-run board took actions before the DeSantis loyalists took over that limited the new boards power to regulate Disney.
The Republican also took a jab at New York State during his 40-minute speech.
DeSantis claimed the Empire state is wasting the millions of dollars it recovers by imposing an income tax, a mandate he gloated Florida does not require.
“New York State has millions of people fewer than Florida now, and yet their budget is twice the size of our state budget. And yet we have better roads, better services and better education,” DeSantis said.
“Where is that money going that New York is taxing all these people for?”
DeSantis made a similar dig in March during a speech in Las Vegas.
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