On Tuesday (April 18), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, insisting DeSantis is not handling his conflict with Disney like a “conservative.”
Christie made the remarks in an interview with Semafor, asserting DeSantis is using the government to bully companies like Disney.
DeSantis’ conflict with Disney dates back more than a year when the company tried to fight the governor’s education reform bill.
Describing himself as a “conservative,” Christie noted his belief that the “job of government… is to stay out of the business of business.”
Christie added that he didn’t believe “Ron DeSantis is a conservative,” describing his thoughts were founded on DeSantis’s actions with Disney.
The former New Jersey Governor queried in which direction the country was headed when the government could punish dissenting voices.
“Where are we headed… that if you express disagreement in this country, the government is allowed to punish you?”
He added that this behavior was “what liberals did.”
DeSantis is fighting for development rights in the Reedy Creek Improvement District around Disney World.
Disney was able to thwart the Florida Governor’s efforts to take over the district by signing a development agreement earlier this year that DeSantis has vowed to rescind.
However, Christie argued that Disney’s actions simply “outmaneuvered” DeSantis, which could be dangerous in high-level negotiations.
He explained that he wouldn’t want DeSantis to be “the guy… sitting across from President Xi” to negotiate the U.S.’s next agreement with China… or “sitting across from Putin” to attempt to resolve the Ukraine conflict if he couldn’t see what Bob Iger was planning.
However, DeSantis argued that Disney had “usurped” control of the improvement area and announced Monday (April 17) that the state legislature is preparing a bill to strengthen control of the area.