Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivered a speech in Jerusalem on Thursday, condemning antisemitism and voicing his support for the Israeli government. He also discussed his ongoing dispute with Disney over a lawsuit the entertainment company filed against him, stating that it lacked merit and was politically motivated. Disney’s lawsuit alleges DeSantis orchestrated a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” which violates the company’s free speech rights. The issue stems from a new board appointed by DeSantis to govern Disney’s special district around their Orlando theme parks.
“I don’t think the suit has merit,” said the governor.
“They’re upset because they’re having to live by the same rules as everybody else. They don’t want to pay the same taxes as everybody else and they want to be able to control things without proper oversight,” DeSantis said. “The days of putting one company on a pedestal with no accountability are over in the state of Florida.”
“The idea that somehow being pro-business means giving companies their own governments, that is not what a free market is all about, last I checked,” he added.
DeSantis accused Disney of being unhappy about having to abide by the same rules as everyone else, adding that the company had no transparency or accountability due to its special taxing district. Disney had filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the governor and his allies of violating its federal constitutional rights.
DeSantis’ stop in Israel is the third leg of his international trip which has looked to boost his profile before an expected presidential announcement. Earlier this week, it was announced the Florida legislature is set to pass bill which would remove hurdles that are in the way for DeSantis to announce his bid for the White House.