‘Vindictive’ DeSantis Called ‘Dumbo’ by Former GOP Chairman Over Disney Prison Idea

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By Giselle Balido

April 19, 2023

The idea of erecting a prison next to a park visited by millions of families and kids from all over the world elicited a damning response.

Are there any similarities between Florida’s governor and a famous Disney character? A former chairman of the Republican National Committee called Gov. Ron DeSantis “Dumbo” in a Tweet after the Florida Republican suggested the idea of building a prison near Walt Disney World in Orlando.

In his latest volley against the Disney Corporation, DeSantis announced legislation that will use the regulatory powers of the Florida government to exert oversight on the park resort.

The governor’s feud with Disney began in 2022 when the corporation publicly opposed DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law that bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. 

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DeSantis immediately retaliated by revoking Disney’s control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District that had allowed the company to run as its own self-governing authority in the state for over 60 years.

A Damning Response

The idea of erecting a prison next to a park visited by millions of families and kids from all over the world elicited a damning response from Michael Steele, who was chair of the Republican National Committee between 2009 and 2011: “When families stop visiting & Disney’s $75.2B economic impact & $5.8B tax revenues drop; its 75K employees face layoffs & 463K jobs are also imperiled what would your analytics say caused that to happen? WTF, Dumbo,” Steele warned in a Tweet. 

RELATED: Disney Outmaneuvers DeSantis, Strips His Hand-Picked Board of Power

Nikki Fried, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, agreed in a Tweet: “Ron DeSantis just threatened to build a state prison next to Disney World. All because they don’t hate gay people.”

Additionally, this may put a dent in DeSantis’ public image as he prepares for a potential run for the White House in 2024. The governor’s position is “only solidifying the public perception that he’s self-centered, small-minded, short-sighted and vindictive,” wrote Jon Cooper, former national finance chair of Draft Biden 2016. 



  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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