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Trump Sides With Woke Disney Against DeSantis



What do Donald Trump, the progressive media, and transgender activists have in common? They all support Disney in its woke crusade against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and democracy. But DeSantis is in the right and poised to win a crucial fight that will show him again to be the happy warrior Republicans need in 2024 to take back the White House and revive the country.

At issue is Disney, which profits from family entertainment while abusing its shareholders’ money to advocate for woke progressive causes. Last year, the Florida legislature acted decisively to protect young children from being sexualized by pro-transgender activists in classrooms. It passed the Parental Rights in Education Act that prevented the preaching of views on sexuality and transgenderism to kids in kindergarten through third grade—a move supported by the vast majority of Floridians.

Opponents cleverly labeled it the “don’t say gay” law and enlisted corporations with no direct exposure to the legislation to oppose it vocally. Disney’s CEO stated the law “could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families”—an obvious libel since the law removed discussion of sexuality and transgenderism from younger classrooms altogether. In fact, the law protects families and children from bullying by those who would put their cultural agenda ahead of children’s wellbeing.

DeSantis and the legislature also decided the time was right to reexamine the cushy arrangement that gave Disney government-like power over the vast amount of land comprising Disney World and its surrounding area. The law dated from 1967, when Florida was a Democrat-dominated economic backwater. The revision marked one of few instances that any governor and state legislature have taken the gloves off to fight a woke corporation abusing other people’s money to advance progressive political causes.

But Disney continues its fight against DeSantis and Florida—now with the help of Trump. Disney reportedly just kicked its army of lobbyists into high gear in trying to thwart DeSantis and the state’s democratically elected legislature. Simultaneously, Trump fantasized: “Disney’s next move will be the announcement that no more money will be invested in Florida because of the Governor–In fact, they could even announce a slow withdrawal or sale of certain properties, or the whole thing. Watch! That could be a killer.”

The implication is obvious: were Trump in charge, he would have caved to Disney and thinks that corporations have a right to use shareholder resources to advance even the most extreme fads of progressivism.

The other implication is that Trump doesn’t understand the success DeSantis helped bring to Florida, which enabled him to cream his opponent last November by a 19-point margin while Trump-backed candidates were losing critical elections and leaving Democrats in charge of the U.S. Senate. Thanks to DeSantis and other Florida Republicans, the state has undergone an economic renaissance and doesn’t need to take orders from any corporation, even a huge one like Disney.

In contrast, Trump has a history of coddling woke corporations and their bosses. For example, a frequent visitor to the Trump White House was Apple CEO Tim Cook, a woke warrior on par with Disney’s leaders who has also helped make America more dependent on China. As CNBC reported in 2019, “Apple’s Tim Cook spent a lot of time charming the Trump administration, and it seems to be paying off.”

Other Republicans vying for the presidency or vice presidency are keeping quiet or, in the case of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, joining Trump in siding with Disney. This week, Christie said: “I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative, based on his actions towards Disney.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial page also did some of its trademark pearl-necklace clutching, lamenting in an editorial titled, “The Stupid War Between Disney and DeSantis,” that “All this makes Mr. DeSantis look a mite unbalanced, with a Trumpian propensity to crank to 11 a dispute that would be better left at 4.”

On the contrary, what DeSantis has done cuts to the heart of the task at hand. The old failing establishment conservatism thought corporations were its friend and that the market would correct organizations that strayed to progressivism. That mistaken view has left us with a media, corporate America, and just about every university advancing woke progressivism and seeking to silence opponents with bullying and outright censorship.

Conservatives have little cultural or institutional power, but we occasionally have political power when we find fighters and election-winners like DeSantis. The governor seems to understand that paradoxically we may have to use the power of government to turn the tide against our statist opponents.

Oddly, Trump doesn’t seem to understand this fundamental tenet of the New Right he helped create. Maybe Trump has lost his edge or maybe he is getting bad advice from his latest crop of poor choices in personnel—a trademark of his presidency and post-presidency alike.

Luckily, DeSantis does understand the fight and the stakes. His battle with Disney isn’t just another in the long line of dustups the happy warrior governor has encountered. It is a defining moment for a movement that can save America, especially if that movement propels Ron DeSantis to the White House.

Christian Whiton was a State Department senior advisor during the George W. Bush and Donald Trump administrations. He is a senior fellow at the Center for the National Interest. This piece first appeared on Super Macro.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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  1. CDN.

    To be blunt.


    He tarnishes your site, and I will pull all stories off out social media page if you allow this obviosly NON-CONSERVATIVE to continue his globalist bullschiff!!

  2. A very imprudent move by Trump. Siding with Disney is not going to help him. Vanquishing DeSantis by lashing out in this way suggests he is irrational and only interested in destroying everyone in his path. Not too smart!

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