Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) accepted large, albeit as-of-now unspecified, sums of money into his gubernatorial inauguration fund from several corporations that he has publicly trashed for being "woke," and, in some cases, even used state policy to punish, according to The Washington Post.
"Two major fundraisers are lobbyists for Disney, the entertainment giant that DeSantis moved to punish for speaking out against his bill restricting classroom discussions of sexuality," said the report. "Another inauguration co-chair lobbies for BlackRock, the investment powerhouse that DeSantis’s administration divested of state funds in retaliation for the firm’s social impact standards. Additional listed sponsors included CVS Health and Walgreens, chain pharmacies that DeSantis criticized at a recent news conference on drug prices."
"The donations underscore how DeSantis maintains corporate ties even while he works to burnish his image as taking on 'woke' corporations," said the report. "At the federal level, candidates from Barack Obama to Donald Trump have imposed (and evaded) measures to curb the role of lobbyists in inaugural fundraising and festivities. DeSantis’s team opted not to impose such restrictions."
DeSantis' feud with Disney over their opposition to the "Don't Say Gay" law is the most prominent. Last year, he signed a bill repealing the law that allows Disney to run a special taxing district for maintenance of the area around their Walt Disney World resort complex outside Orlando. That bill created a number of logistical challenges, like whether taxpayers would have to take on Disney's outstanding debt.
In December, Florida state lawmakers were reportedly planning to reverse that change. However, DeSantis himself appears to still be standing by it, and even wants lawmakers to pass new laws letting the state take over management of the area directly.
"DeSantis has emerged from his landslide reelection last November as the most highly anticipated potential 2024 challenger to Trump, even topping the former president in some early surveys," noted the report. "The governor is planning to use his state’s upcoming legislative session to pick more fights with big business over data privacy and ethically minded investing, highlighting issues designed to help him in a presidential primary. He revisited the theme in his inaugural speech, calling Florida 'where woke goes to die.'"