Christie Slates ‘Big Government’ Ron DeSantis Over Disney Row – In a recent interview on CNBC, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie slammed his GOP presidential rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as a “big government Republican.”
Christie’s critique of DeSantis came during an appearance on CNBC’s “Last Call,” where he expressed his differences with the Florida governor’s approach to corporate disputes and state spending.
“I’m not a big government Republican, like Governor DeSantis is, who thinks that every time you disagree with a position that a corporation takes, you should take punitive action against them,” Christie stated during the interview.
Christie’s comment alluded to DeSantis’s recent clashes with major corporations such as Disney. The dispute arose when Disney publicly opposed a new Florida law which forbade the use of federal resources to teach students about sexual activity, sexual orientation, gender identity and dysphoria.
In response, DeSantis signed legislation nearly a year later aimed at curtailing Disney’s authority over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a substantial tract of land that Disney has governed since the 1960s.
This move prompted Disney to file a lawsuit against DeSantis and other Florida officials in April, alleging retaliation for their stance against the law.
Christie didn’t stop at corporate disputes but also highlighted differences in state spending between New Jersey and Florida during their respective tenures in office.
“Our spending in New Jersey went up an average of 2 percent a year, for all eight years that I was there,” Christie explained. “Just a little over 16 percent in eight years. You compare that to Florida, for instance, in the last five years spending has gone up 30 percent.”
With both Christie and DeSantis vying for the GOP presidential nomination, their policy differences and confrontations are becoming increasingly prominent as they seek to define their political identities in the lead-up to the 2024 election
As the 2024 presidential race takes shape, Christie’s characterization of DeSantis as a “big government Republican” serves as a noteworthy moment in the evolving contest for the Republican nomination.
While Christie recently surpassed DeSantis in an Emerson College poll for the key primary state of New Hampshire, his entry into the 2024 presidential campaign looks to be an uphill battle, and he is currently polling at around 1 percent.
FiveThirtyEight’s senior elections analyst Nathaniel Rakich suggests that he “missed” a better opportunity to run in 2012, when he was a popular governor. Despite his 2016 campaign, he starts in a worse position now. His impact could be in taking down a front-runner, but his low popularity may hinder that. In 2011, his potential was high, with strong polls and elite backing, but scandals like the Bridgegate incident damaged his image.
He struggled in the 2016 race and is beginning this one with minimal support. His anti-Trump stance after endorsing him in 2016 could impact the race, but his unfavorable ratings among Republicans and limited debate qualification chances could hinder his effectiveness. Christie’s chance at the nomination is slim, and his role as an influencer may also be diminished.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
From the Vault