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GOP PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Pence criticises DeSantis for escalating Disney battle ahead of 2024

Former US vice-president Mike Pence. (Photo: EPA-EFE / CJ GUNTHER)

Former vice-president Mike Pence criticised Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential rival, saying the Florida governor went too far in his fight with Walt Disney.

Pence, in a CNBC interview Wednesday, said he supported DeSantis for signing a law last year limiting school instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation but not his actions seeking to punish Disney for opposing the measure.

“That was beyond the scope of what I, as a conservative, limited-government Republican, would be prepared to do,” Pence said.

Disney publicly opposed the legislation, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That led to a clash between DeSantis and one of his state’s largest employers.

DeSantis signed a law last year that would dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District — a special sector that provides services like power, water, infrastructure and fire protection to Walt Disney World Resort — in June unless legislators took action.

The Florida governor is now looking to place the special district under control of a state board, giving him additional power to oversee the entertainment giant.

A spokeswoman for DeSantis didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking a response to Pence’s comments.

Pence has spent the past year laying the groundwork for potential presidential run, and DeSantis is widely expected to get in the race some time after the Florida legislative session ends in May.

So far, the only major announced GOP candidates are former president Donald Trump, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, and Ohio businessman and anti-ESG advocate Vivek Ramaswamy.

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