GOP governor rips DeSantis’ ‘punitive approach’ to Disney after parental rights dust

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Amid an ongoing feud between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, another Republican Arkansas governor stepped in on Sunday, criticizing what he saw as a “punitive approach to business.”

“First of all, Disney has handled this very badly,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson began, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He first criticized Disney’s stance on the state’s new parental rights legislation dubbed by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill bans classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity for elementary students in kindergarten through third grade.

“Secondly, the law that was passed is, to me, common sense that in those grades, those lower grades, you shouldn’t be teaching about sexual orientation and those issues that shouldn’t be covered – at that age “, Hutchinson, who has served as Republican governor of Arkansas since 2015, said.

DESANTIS BLASTS DISNEY EXECS’ ATTACK ON PARENTS: ‘WALT DISNEY DIDN’T WANT THIS’

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (L) (R-AR), president of the National Governors Association, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) (R) speak outside the White House after meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and members of the National Governors Association January 31, 2022 in Washington, DC.
((Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images))

However, he quickly pivoted to add blame to DeSantis for signing legislation last month stripping Walt Disney World of a decades-old special deal that allowed the theme park to govern itself.

Fireworks go off around Cinderella's Castle during the Grand Opening Ceremony of Walt Disney World's Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on December 6, 2012.
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Fireworks go off around Cinderella’s Castle during the Grand Opening Ceremony of Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on December 6, 2012.
(REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo)

“But I don’t believe the government should punish private companies because we disagree with them. That’s not the right approach either,” Hutchinson said. “And so, for me, it’s the old Republican principle to have a small government.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears with Republican Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt during a campaign event at Stoneys Rockin Country on April 27, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears with Republican Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt during a campaign event at Stoneys Rockin Country on April 27, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
((Photo by Ronda Churchill/Getty Images))

“Let’s do the right thing,” he said. “It’s a fair debate about these special tax privileges. I understand this debate. But let’s not sue the companies and punish them because we disagree with what they said.”

CNN host Dana Bash insisted, “So DeSantis overstepped?”

“Well, I disagree,” Hutchinson replied. “I don’t agree with a punitive approach to corporations.”

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After recently speaking at the Politics & Eggs event in New Hampshire, a traditional stop for presidential candidates, Hutchinson confirmed to CNN that he is considering a presidential race in 2024 and that a potential scenario of former President Donald Trump entering the race would not influence his decision one way or the other.

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