Ron DeSantis handed Disney lawyers the ammo they needed to blow him out of the water: analysis
Ron DeSantis (Photo via Shutterstock)

If Gov. Ron Ron DeSantis (R-FL) flops in his war with Disney, he will likely have himself -- and his presidential ambitions -- to blame, writes Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent.

Attorneys for the entertainment giant filed a lawsuit against the Florida Republican last Wednesday in U.S. district court in Tallahassee, Florida, asking to have its control over a special tax district restored back to the way it has been run since the 1960's.

Looking for the evidence they need to push back at DeSantis and his hand-appointed board, Disney lawyers found a great deal of what they need in the book DeSantis wrote as he ramped up his fledgling drive for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

As the Post's Sargent wrote, excerpts from the book, "The Courage To Be Free," feature prominently in the lawsuit which could undermine his case.

"Memoirs by presidential aspirants often lay out a blueprint for their coming candidacies. DeSantis does, too. It boasts extensively about his war on Disney to advertise how he would marshal the powers of the presidency against so-called woke elites," the columnist wrote. "Disney’s lawsuit cites exactly these passages. DeSantis — who signed a law taking control of Disney’s special self-governing district, and moved to nullify the company’s efforts to work around it — repeatedly flaunts the truth: These were retaliation against Disney for opposing his “don’t say gay” law limiting classroom discussion of sex and gender."

According to Scott Wilkens, senior counsel at the Knight First Amendment Institute, the governor's own words are a powerful weapon being deployed by the Disney legal team.

"You have pretty clear statements from Governor DeSantis that he is seeking to punish a corporation for its speech,” Wilkens explained. “That’s prohibited by the First Amendment.”

Sargent added, "All of this shows how hollow these right-wing theatrical exercises have become. When you start with the thrills you hope to inspire in the Fox News audience and build policy around that, the results tend to collapse once the lack of a real policy rationale becomes widely understood. If quotes from DeSantis’s own memoir lead to another such implosion, it would represent a spectacular and richly deserved form of political justice."

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