Chris Christie Takes Shots At DeSantis, Claims He Isn’t A ‘Conservative’


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Kate Anderson Contributor
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Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in an interview Tuesday that he did not believe Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida was a “conservative” based on his interactions with Disney.

DeSantis announced legislation Monday that would nullify attempts by Disney to sidestep the governor’s newly created state control board that would oversee Disney operations. In response to the proposed legislation, Christie said during an interview with Semafor Principals that he didn’t think DeSantis could be considered a conservative. (RELATED: DeSantis Unveils Bill To Thwart Disney’s Special Privileges)

“I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative based on his actions towards Disney,” Christie said. “Where are we headed here now, that if you express disagreement in this country, the government is allowed to punish you? To me, that’s what I always thought liberals did, and now all of a sudden here we are participating in this with a Republican governor.”

The Florida governor has been pushing legislation to create more oversight and even revoke Disney’s self-governing status after the company came out against DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education Bill, termed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, in 2022. In response, Disney attempted to create an agreement to regain development rights and privileges, but DeSantis’ new bill argues that Disney’s attempts were null and void due to legal and filing issues.

DeSantis is expected to announce a presidential bid in the coming weeks and Christie, who ran for office in 2016, is also considered a potential 2024 candidate. The former governor said that DeSantis’ approach with the company made him nervous about negotiations with China if the Florida governor were to win the election.

“For him to have taken the action he took against Disney and to not have foreseen that Disney was going to do what they did in response, which was to completely take over the millions and millions of acres and the zoning decisions on that before they got the authority,” Christie said. “Well, I’ll tell you this much, that’s not the guy I want sitting across from President Xi [Jinping] and negotiating our next agreement with China.”

DeSantis’ Press Secretary Bryan Griffin told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Disney had an “unfair special advantage” over other businesses in Florida and that the company’s “threats to work to overturn duly enacted legislation” were “not appropriate.”

“After the Florida legislature then acted to even the playing field, Disney attempted to make a legally deficient, 11th-hour agreement to preserve their special privileges,” Griffin said. “That’s an attempt to subvert the will of the people of Florida, and Governor DeSantis will not stand for that. Good and limited government (and, indeed, principled conservatism) reduces special privilege, encourages an even playing field for businesses, and upholds the will of the people. Governor DeSantis is the champion of the people of Florida.”

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