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Both Florida Senators Voice Concern Over Ongoing Governor DeSantis Feud with Disney

Both of the Senators from Florida have voiced concern about the ongoing feud with Disney that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is engaged in. This feud began after Disney voiced opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Since then, DeSantis has said “There’s a new sheriff in town” as he targeted “woke Disney” and the Reedy Creek Improvement District, where most of Walt Disney World Resort resides. He aimed to dissolve it and eventually, it was replaced with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This new district is governed by a board that was hand-selected by the Florida Governor. The actions have been called “retaliation” by Disney CEO Bob Iger who also questioned “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes or not?”

As the feud has not dissipated at all, Disney has canceled plans to move employees (including Walt Disney Imagineering) to Lake Nona where the company had planned to build a $1 billion campus. It would have brought 2,000 jobs to Florida. Now the situation is embroiled in a lawsuit, a counter lawsuit, and legislation has been passed in an effort by Governor DeSantis to assert his will over Disney. It appears that a judge will decide if this is indeed retaliation.

As the controversy continues, both Florida Senators have weighed in on the matter. Senator Rick Scott, who once was also the Governor of Florida, commented on how important Disney is to Florida’s economy in a recent interview with The Hill. “This is the biggest or second-biggest employer in the state,” Scott said. “Half the tourism that comes to our state comes to visit Disney. It’s a reason people come to our state. After they come there, people move there. So I think cooler heads need to prevail. My view is we have to do everything to help our businesses grow.” Senator Scott made this statement in the context that he does agree with the basis of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and that it “was a good bill.”

Florida’s other Senator, Marco Rubio, shared similar comments on Fox News saying “I think where it gets problematic in the eyes of some people is when you start creating the idea—and I’m not saying we’re there yet as a state—but the idea that somehow if you run crossways with us politically, whoever’s in charge, then you may wind up in the crosshairs of the legislature for political purposes to make a statement at you.”

Senator Rubio continued his thought process and brought up the analogy of a Democratic Governor targeting Chic-Fil-A, a company known for its more conservative viewpoints. “If it starts to be perceived that any corporate entity that’s operating directly or indirectly in furtherance of a political agenda that the powers that be don’t agree with, therefore we’re going to use the power of government to target you, you get concerned,” Rubio added. “If a Democratic [governor] and a Democratic legislature takes over Florida, they’re going to go after Chick-fil-A?”

These statements are similar to those made by other Republican national figures who have voiced concern over the controversy. None of these concerns appear to be heard or heeded by DeSantis who continues to double down on continuing the fight until he wins. The courts might have a different opinion on the outcome, however.