Republican senators from Florida are issuing warnings to Gov. Ron DeSantis about his ongoing dispute with the Walt Disney Company.

DeSantis, a Republican who has served as governor of the Sunshine State since 2019 and is expected to seek a presidential run by 2024, began falling out with Disney when the company released a statement condemning the Parents’ Rights in Education Act. state. Better known colloquially as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the law restricted the ability of public schools to discuss issues of gender and sexual identity with students, provisions that have since been expanded beyond their original scope.

Disney, long known for its pro-LGBTQ+ stances, denounced the bill’s passage, sparking a dispute that led DeSantis and his government to take action against the company’s Florida operations. By the reckoning of many, the conflict has gone badly for the governor, with Disney legally outmaneuvering him and filing a lawsuit against the state government, alleging that he has been politically attacked for exercising his First Amendment rights. On Thursday, Disney canceled plans to build a new billion-dollar office complex in Lake Nona, Florida, citing “new leadership and changing business conditions.” The project would have brought about 2,000 new jobs to the state.

With the economic impact of DeSantis’ war with Disney continuing to grow, Republican Senators from Florida in Washington, DC, have spoken out, urging caution in moving the governor forward. Sen. Rick Scott, who previously served as governor from 2011 to 2019, noted in an interview how vital Disney is to the state’s economy, according to The Hill.

desantis disney rick scott marco rubio
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flanked, on the right, by Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio. Scott and Rubio have called for caution from DeSantis in his ongoing feud with Disney.
Mark Wilson/fake images

“This is the largest or second largest employer in the state,” Scott said. “Half of the tourism that comes to our state comes to visit Disney. It’s one of the reasons people come to our state. After they get there, people move there. So I think a cool head should prevail.” My view is that we have to do everything we can to help our businesses grow.”

Scott also admitted that he believed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the wake of the battle “was a good bill.”

Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio made similar comments about the situation during an interview with Fox News last month.

“I think in some people’s eyes it becomes problematic when you start to create the idea, and I’m not saying we’re there yet as a state, but the idea that somehow if you cross paths with us politically, whoever is in charge , then you can end up in the crosshairs of the legislature for political purposes to make a statement to them,” Rubio said.

Speaking further, Rubio raised the possibility that a future Democratic governor would target Chick-fil-A, a popular fast-food chain known for the conservative politics and devout Christian beliefs of its corporate leadership.

“If it begins to be perceived that any corporate entity that is operating directly or indirectly in support of a political agenda that the powers that be disagree with, therefore we are going to use the power of government to attack it, you will get worried,” Ruby added. “If a democrat [governor] and a Democratic legislature takes over Florida, are they going to go after Chick-fil-A?”

news week reached out to DeSantis’ press office via email for comment.

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