“Disney clash eclipses DeSantis’ international tour”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ first international trade mission did not go as planned, as he faced questions about his standing within the Republican Party and being taken to court by Walt Disney World. DeSantis had hoped the trip would generate lucrative business deals and boost his foreign policy resume ahead of a potential presidential run. However, his recent actions and response to the Disney lawsuit have left some within his own party questioning his readiness for the rigor of presidential politics.
The confrontation with Disney started over a year ago, when the company spoke out against legislation that would prevent discussion of sexual preference and gender identity in grades K-3. DeSantis accused Disney of being “woke” and, in response, called lawmakers to strip Disney of the right to make development and expansion decisions on its own. Some members of the GOP have expressed concern that the fight with Disney is becoming a distraction, and that rather than burnishing his image as a fighter, it may damage his standing as a potential presidential candidate.
DeSantis, however, doesn’t seem phased by the criticism. Speaking in Israel, he expressed confidence in his actions and stated that the lawsuit against him was political. He continued by saying that the days of putting one company on a pedestal with no accountability are over in the state of Florida. DeSantis is eyeing a presidential campaign launch once the state legislature wraps up its session next month. However, as his familiarity with the public increases, so do negative views towards him.
Sen. Rick Scott, DeSantis’ predecessor as governor and U.S. Senator has expressed support for the law Disney spoke out against, but he hopes the feud can die down. He believes that they must figure out how to solve the problem and ensure Disney continues to grow in the state.
While some of DeSantis’ Republican allies have grown increasingly anxious about his White House prospects, the lawsuit with Disney adds another layer of complexity. There’s an open question of whether the continuation of the Disney feud will dent DeSantis’ political standing. As the lawsuit is set to continue to pop up in headlines, it may affect his chances in the long run.