Disney Fires Back at ‘Sheriff’ DeSantis And His Boldest Claims

When he held the office of President of the United States, Donald Trump often claimed powers that presidents don’t actually have. In numerous situations, he said that he was essentially above the law claiming immunity where no such precedent actually existed.

The same has followed in his classified documents scandal that led to his indictment. Basically, the former president claimed that he could unclassify documents simply by thinking about it, which is not at all how it works.

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Federal prosecutors, however, have traditionally given presidents wide leeway. They’re not actually saying that every action falls within the law, but they’re very reticent to indict a sitting president (although that does not appear to apply once someone leaves office.)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not been charged with any crimes, but he is pulling a play from Trump’s playbook in his battle with Walt Disney  (DIS) – Get Free Report. The Mouse House has filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis and recently filed an answer to the governor’s efforts to get that case dismissed.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against a piece of DeSantis’ legislation.

Image source: Walt Disney/TheStreet

Disney Makes Its Legal Case

“DeSantis’ lawyers claimed last month that he is immune from such lawsuits and that he is not the one who enforces the law that was approved by state legislators,” WESH reported.

Disney’s lawsuit claims that the governor improperly used his political power to single the company out when he used the state legislature to eliminate Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District special district. The company said in its response to DeSantis seeking to dismiss the case that it has been the “central target of the Governor’s weaponized state” and that governor has sought to curtail its rights to free speech.

The battle between the governor and the largest economic driver in his state dates back to former Disney CEO Bob Chapek speaking out publicly against DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. That kicked off a series of public statements and one lawsuit filed by each side.

Disney answered DeSantis’ motion to dismiss its federal lawsuit in a document filed with the court on July 26.

“The Governor seeks to evade responsibility for his actions on a narrower ground, asserting that a governor cannot be held officially liable for implementing, administering, and enforcing state laws that punish residents for political statements violating a state-prescribed speech code,” the company’s lawyer’s wrote.

In the July 26 filing, Disney also noted that “DeSantis has boasted about the battle against the company, even calling himself ‘the new sheriff in town,'” WESH shared.

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Disney Has Economic Power

While Disney can’t pack up Disney World and move it to a more politically friendly state, it can choose to spend some of its capital budget elsewhere. That may not mean cutting back on new rides at the four Disney World theme parks — the company does still have to compete with Comcast’s  (CMCSA) – Get Free Report Universal Studios and its upcoming Epic Universe theme park — but it can divert other spending.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has already canceled a planned $1 billion headquarters campus near Disney World. That project would have also brought about 2,000 high-paying jobs from California to Florida. 

DeSantis responded to that project being canceled by casting doubt as to whether Disney actually had ever planned to build it in the first place. He also made comments implying the Disney could not afford to move forward with the project.    

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