In the throes of what appears to be an escalating feud between GOP titans, President Donald Trump delivered a double blow on Sunday, hammering not only Disney’s continuing push towards a politically progressive stance but also Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his apparent failure to stem this “woke” tide.
Using his platform, Truth Social, Trump was unabashed in his critique of Disney, describing it as a “Woke and Disgusting shadow of its former self.” This marks a significant shift in the former president’s strategy, showing an unexpected willingness to publicly call out the media giant.
Trump’s comments take on added significance given the ongoing battle between DeSantis and Disney in Florida. The Governor has been involved in a controversy with the entertainment conglomerate since March 2022, when the latter publicly criticized a controversial parental rights law in Florida.
The law aims to limit discussions of gender identity and sexuality in elementary schools, a move seen by Disney and others as restrictive and divisive. DeSantis, who championed the bill, further irked Disney by replacing the state district overseeing Disney’s 27,000-acre theme park and resort with his handpicked board, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
However, in this high-stakes duel, Trump’s sharp critique of DeSantis has raised eyebrows. A potential rival in the 2024 GOP primary, DeSantis finds himself under fire from Trump for not effectively curbing Disney’s supposed “woke” transformation.
According to Trump, the shift in Disney’s approach happened under the watch of “Rob DeSanctimonious,” a thinly veiled dig at DeSantis, whom Trump accuses of using the feud for “publicity reasons only.”
The former president also warned of potential consequences for Florida’s economy if Disney decided to withdraw its investments, a prediction that seemed prescient when the company scrapped a $1 billion project in Orlando this month. The project was set to create more than 2,000 jobs in Florida, with many employees being relocated from Southern California.
Trump’s campaign quickly capitalized on this development, sending out an email titled: “President Trump is always right.” This remark underscores Trump’s assertion that DeSantis’s actions against Disney were counterproductive and detrimental to the Florida economy.
However, in a recent appearance on Fox & Friends, DeSantis disputed Trump’s claims, expressing surprise at the former president’s stance. He wondered aloud why Trump was “attacking me from the left” and seemed puzzled that Trump was taking “Disney’s side.”
In a swift response, Trump dismissed DeSantis’s statements as “wrong,” maintaining that he had not sided with Disney. Yet, his previous comments, clearly critical of both Disney and DeSantis, suggest a nuanced play, setting the stage for what promises to be a riveting showdown in the run-up to 2024.
While it remains unclear what immediate impact these exchanges will have, Trump’s willingness to call out Disney and DeSantis indicates an intriguing shift in the GOP’s dynamics as the former president looms large over the party’s landscape.