GOP governor Asa Hutchinson criticises DeSantis for ‘punitive approach’ to Disney

Mr Hutchinson, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, is one of a few GOP governors willing to criticise members of his own party

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Sunday 01 May 2022 20:38 BST
Disney employees are tired of the company political leniency

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was wrong to push through a law terminating the self-governing status the state government granted to the Walt Disney Company in the 1960s, because he did so to punish the company for criticising a controversial Florida law.

Mr Hutchinson, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, also criticised the company for how it handled the recently passed law which purportedly prohibits classroom discussions of sexual orientation in early primary school grades.

But he said Mr DeSantis, who many polls show is a front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination should former president Donald Trump choose to not pursue a second non-consecutive term, said he did not believe government should punish private businesses because officials might disagree with them.

“To me, that's the old Republican principle of having a restrained government,” he said. "It's a fair debate about these special tax privileges. I understand that debate. But let's not go after businesses and punish them because we disagree with what they said”.

Asked if Mr DeSantis had “overstepped” by pushing the new law through the Florida legislature, Mr Hutchinson replied: "Well, I disagree with it — I disagree with a punitive approach to businesses”.

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