Florida paper ridicules “punchline” Ron DeSantis for his “thermonuclear war on a cartoon mouse”

MIAMI, FLORIDA / UNITED STATES - MARCH 27, 2019: Governor Ron DeSantis appoints Michelle Alvarez Barakat and Tanya Brinkley as judges to Miami’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court.
Photo: Shutterstock

It has been just under two weeks since the Orlando Sentinel editorial board skewered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for his “foolish” and “petty” vendetta against Disney, and now the paper has come for him again.

In another epic takedown of the anti-LGBTQ+ governor, columnist Scott Maxwell ruthlessly mocked DeSantis for becoming “a punchline” as his attempts to take down Disney continue to backfire.

Maxwell wrote that DeSantis’s efforts to show brute strength by punishing Disney for speaking out against Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law has actually made him look quite weak.

In Maxwell’s words: “The wheels have come off.”

“Donald Trump is pounding on him like a bass drum,” he wrote. “Donors are running away. And most mainstream Americans are either confused by or put off by his constant culture-warring.”

“See, DeSantis was billed as a less chaotic version of Donald Trump,” Maxwell continued. “Instead, he declared thermonuclear war on a cartoon mouse.”

The op-ed was spurred by DeSantis’s most recent “press tantrum,” as Maxwell called it, during which he floated the possibility of building a state prison beside Disney’s theme parks. Maxwell wrote that DeSantis “almost seemed embarrassed” during this rant.

Maxwell joked the prison would be the “Most Magically Secure Place on Earth” and couldn’t help but think of the ride possibilities, from “It’s a Small Cell, After All” to “Princess Jasmine’s Solitary Confinement.”

He also taunted the governor’s “bizarre” threat to impose stricter ride-safety standards on the parks, something many have spent years lobbying the Florida government to do.

“That’s right, the ultimate smackdown that Team DeSantis came up with in its war on wokeism was to threaten … um … reasonable safety and transparency measures to protect the public. Suck it, libs.”

Maxwell skewered DeSantis not for making this threat but rather for saying the upgraded safety rules would only apply to Disney and not other theme parks in the state like Universal, SeaWorld, and Busch Gardens because, unlike Disney, those parks “bow down before DeSantis.”

“Such is life in the ‘Free State of Florida,’” Maxwell said.

Maxwell asserted that as DeSantis pursues a probable presidential run, his supporters have begun to run for their lives. The op-ed posits that the governor has made it clear he is not the stable, more reasonable antidote to the chaos the Republican party has become.

Disney and DeSantis have been feuding since the entertainment company spoke out against the governor’s anti-LGBTQ+ Don’t Say Gay law, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in lower grades and restricts them in higher grades, using language that LGBTQ+ activists say effectively ban mentioning LGBTQ+ people in the classroom.

After that, DeSantis not only continuously criticized the company in public, but he also oversaw the Florida legislature’s revocation of Disney’s decades-old special zoning agreement to punish them.

DeSantis signed the bill abolishing the district in February. The bill also allowed him to create a five-member board (appointed by him) to oversee government services in Disney’s district. But members of DeSantis’s new board began their tenure by discovering that the previous board snuck in a last-minute development agreement with Disney that allows the company to maintain much of its autonomy and renders the new board pretty much powerless.

DeSantis was ruthlessly mocked for being outplayed. He has been repeatedly criticized for refusing to reflect, especially because Disney is the backbone of Florida’s economy. Nevertheless, his administration has made it clear this war is not ending any time soon.

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