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Ron DeSantis Is In a World of Trouble

Ron DeSantis

The Ron DeSantis-Walt Disney Corporation feud is becoming consequential. And that can only mean trouble for the DeSantis 2024 White House bid. 

Ron DeSantis vs. Disney

Disney has just canned plans to build a roughly $1 billion office building in Orange County, Florida.

The project, known as the Lake Nona Town Center, was expected to add 2,000 jobs to the Florida economy.

“Given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with construction of the campus,” Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chairman wrote in an email to employees that The Washington Post tracked down.

The “considerable changes” are of course Ron DeSantis’s full-blown vendetta against the company. But DeSantis blamed other factors.

“Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures,” a DeSantis spokesman said.

With the DeSantis-Disney feud escalating – and the bipartisan consensus that DeSantis has messed up here – the question is quickly becoming whether DeSantis’s presidential hopes can survive the confrontation.

The Feud

Disney’s decision to cancel their office building project is the latest escalation in the DeSantis-Disney feud, which started when Disney denounced the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill that DeSantis signed into law.

DeSantis made the mistake of taking Disney’s criticisms personally; he retaliated, at one point threatening to build a prison near their theme park. The conflict kept escalating, reaching “its peak when DeSantis worked with the legislature to reconstitute Disney’ World’s governing district, packing its oversight board with conservative allies,” The Washington Post reported. Then, Disney sued DeSantis for free speech infringement. DeSantis’s hand-picked board countersued.

Keep in mind that DeSantis is doing all of this against one of his state’s most robust job-creating/tax-paying companies; a company that offers a legitimate boost not just to Florida’s economy, but to Florida’s image as an international destination.

DeSantis should stop – although, he may have already gone too far. Republicans are already calling DeSantis’s vendetta against Disney “anti-business,” which is a scarlet letter in the conservative community. Nikki Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina who is running for president, invited Disney to move to South Carolina. Francis Suarez, the Republican mayor of Miami, “blasted” DeSantis for his “personal vendetta” with Disney.

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

Suarez then tossed out a major diss; he equated DeSantis to Joe Biden. “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. And you know, one thing that [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.”

Can DeSantis Still Win the Presidency?

DeSantis is slipping in the polls against a resurgent Trump. Although the race is still early, DeSantis is suddenly looking quite vulnerable, especially in light of the ongoing Disney feud. To salvage a shot at the White House, DeSantis may want to consider deescalating with Disney, rather than perpetually doubling down.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.