Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing renewed criticism after Disney announced it is scrapping a $1 billion project to build a new campus in central Florida. In its decision, Disney parks chief Josh D’Amaro cited “changing business conditions.”
The move comes just days before DeSantis, who has had a contentious relationship with Disney, is set to officially announce his bid for the White House, according to multiple sources.
Although Disney did not explicitly mention DeSantis in its decision to pull out of the project, many cast blame on the governor who is currently in an ongoing legal battle with the company.
The now abandoned project was expected to bring over 2,000 white-collar jobs to the Sunshine State, according to an estimate from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
However, it is important to note that Disney is currently in the process of cutting jobs and reducing costs by $5.5 billion as part of its efforts to pay down its debt, as reported by The New York Times.
Despite the recent project cancelation, Disney indicated in a memo it still plans to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 jobs in Florida over the next decade.
Responding to the claims that the governor drove out the project, DeSantis’ spokesman Jeremy Redfern said “nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition.”
“Given the company’s financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures,” Redfern added.
Critics and potential rivals seized the opportunity to criticize DeSantis over the recent events.
Former President Trump wrote, “Ron DeSantis single-handedly lost the State of Florida nearly $1 billion in investment and over 2,000 jobs—with an average salary of $120,000—because he was too weak to fight for his state.”
DeSantis is Trump’s closest rival in a potential matchup.
According to a Real Clear Politics analysis, DeSantis holds 19.9% support among Republican voters compared to Trump’s commanding lead of 56%.