TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ‘ deepening feud with Walt Disney World is testing the limits of his combative leadership style while sending an unmistakable message to his rivals that virtually nothing is off limits as he plots his political future.
The 43-year-old Republican has repeatedly demonstrated an acute willingness to fight over the course of his decadelong political career. He has turned against former aides and rejected the GOP Legislature’s rewrite of congressional maps, forcing lawmakers to accept a version more to his liking and prompting voting rights groups to sue. He’s also leaned into simmering tensions with Donald Trump, which is notable for someone seeking to lead a party where loyalty to the former president is a requirement.
But DeSantis’ decision to punish Disney World, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and one of Florida’s biggest private employers, took his fighter mentality to a new level. In retribution for Disney’s criticism of a new state law condemned by critics as “Don’t Say Gay,” DeSantis signed legislation on Friday stripping the theme park of a decades-old special agreement that allowed it to govern itself.