WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mike Pence ripped Ron DeSantis on Monday, accusing him of “following in the footsteps of the radical left” in the governor’s high-profile battle with Disney.
In an op-ed for Reason, the former vice president asked: “Why are some Republicans turning their backs on the free market principles we’ve advocated for generations?”
Pence acknowledged that “very real problems have emerged within contemporary corporate culture in America,” but asserted that “the answer to such challenges is not to demand government intervention.”
DESANTIS BREAKS FROM “CONSERVATIVE PLAYBOOK”
After noting Disney’s “left-wing values,” Pence uncorked on DeSantis.
“When the governor of Florida decided to launch a full-scale campaign of governmental retribution against Disney, he wasn't taking a page out of the conservative playbook – he was following in the footsteps of the radical left,” he argued.
“In doing so, he not only risked billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs for the state, but even more importantly, he turned his back on the principles that make our country great.”
SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND THE FREE MARKET
Curiously, Pence provided no details related to the “governmental retribution” he accuses DeSantis of launching. The specifics of the case are often omitted by the governor’s opponents – both on the Left and the Right.
Addressing this very critique, DeSantis clarified the issues behind the Disney upon announcing his candidacy for president in 2024.
“You had this setup that Disney engineered many decades ago where they actually had their own government that they controlled with no accountability,” the governor told Elon Musk on May 24. “They were exempt from the laws that all their competitors had to follow, massive tax breaks, and they even racked up municipal debt and Florida basically put them on a pedestal many decades ago, and joined the state with this one company at the hip.”
“This is not the way you would run a competitive economy,” he continued. “We ended their self-governing status so Disney has to live under the same laws as everybody. They [have] got to pay the same taxes as everybody, and obviously they’ll be responsible for those debts. So, the reason why there’s a quote, ‘fight’ is just because they filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida trying to get their special privileges reinstituted.”
Speaking to Musk, DeSantis shared what serves as a plausible reply to Pence.
“I think some of these Republicans that are taking Disney’s side, they’re basically showing themselves to be corporatist because these are all corporate goodies.”