(NewsNation) — Disney said Thursday that it was pulling out of its plan to build a new, nearly $1 billion corporate campus in Florida to relocate 2,000 of its employees from California. The announcement comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to launch his 2024 presidential campaign next week.
In an interview with NewsNation host Dan Abrams, Mediaite contributing editor Sarah Rumpf said the situation looks “messy” for DeSantis.
“This is a messy, messy thing, and Trump is making a joke of it,” Rumpf said during a Thursday appearance on “Dan Abrams Live.”
Trump’s campaign tweeted the following statement Thursday about the lost investment: “Ron DeSantis’ failed war on Disney has done little for his limping shadow campaign, and now is doing even less for Florida’s economy.”
DeSantis has battled with Disney since March of last year, when Disney’s then-CEO criticized Florida legislation that would limit discussion of gender identity and sexuality in elementary schools. The governor argued that “woke Disney” should be stripped of its self-governing power over Walt Disney World in Orlando. Now, an oversight board for Disney with members appointed by DeSantis has been established.
“It’s not a good political move,” Rumpf said. “His message was that he was smarter and less drama than Trump, but he was getting schooled.”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is strongly considering his own presidential run, thinks Florida may be paying the price for DeSantis’ feud.
“It looks like now it’s something out of spite or maybe a personal vendetta, which has cost the state now potentially 2,000 jobs and a $1 billion investment,” Suarez said on “NewsNation on The Hill.”
Rumpf said based on the information she has gathered, the duel with DeSantis was not the only reason Disney scrapped the deal, but it was a factor.
“The governor has sent a message to Disney and other corporations that it is not the business-friendly climate that he’s been marketing it as,” Rumpf said.
A DeSantis spokesperson said the state was not sure whether the Disney campus would come to fruition “given the company’s financial straits.”
“This is a project announced two years ago that’s been dormant ever since, so this wasn’t a loss of jobs,” Ken Cuccinelli, founder of a pro-DeSantis political action committee, said. “This was a company that’s lost a quarter-billion dollars on two of its recent woke movies and doesn’t have the money to go forward.”
Disney had planned to build their new campus in central Florida about 20 miles from the Walt Disney World theme park.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.