Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: YouTube screenshot
Kenneth Griffin, the biggest donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), has said that he isn’t donating to DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign because DeSantis doesn’t seem to have a strategy for winning. To prove his point, Griffin noted DeSantis’ “pointless” crusade against Disney for opposing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Griffin gave $5 million to DeSantis’ 2021 gubernatorial election campaign. In April, Griffin said that he “appreciates all that the governor has done to make Florida one of the most attractive states to live and work in” including “increasing the number of quality school options, and prioritizing the safety of our communities.”
Griffin also said last November, “Our country would be well-served by [DeSantis] as president.” However, those good feelings have seemingly worn off.
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In a recent CNBC interview, Griffin described DeSantis’ governorship as “phenomenal,” but added that this “hasn’t been how this last few months have played out” in DeSantis’ presidential campaign. “I don’t know his strategy,” Griffin said. “It’s not clear to me what voter base he is intending to appeal to.”
“If I had my dream, we’d have a great Republican candidate in the primary who was younger, of a different generation, with a different tone for America,” Griffin continued. “We’d have a debate around ideas and principles and policies to make this a great nation. We’re not having that dialogue right now.”
“The ongoing battle with Disney, I think, is pointless,” Griffin added. “It doesn’t reflect well on the ethos of Florida.”
After Disney opposed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, DeSantis continuously and publicly criticized the company, dissolved Disney’s self-governing district in Florida, and appointed a five-member board to oversee the area. In response, Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis, alleging a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint.” DeSantis’ board counter-sued.
While DeSantis has said it’s time to “move on” from the battle, Disney hasn’t relented, and it may take many months before courts settle the issue. In the meanwhile, his battle with Disney may cost taxpayers an estimated $4.5 million in legal fees by 2024.
Griffin is just one of many big-dollar donors fleeing DeSantis. Of the top 50 donors who gave $160,000 or more to his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign, only eight have donated to his campaign, and only 16 have donated to his super PAC Never Back Down, Politico noted. Five who gave to his super PAC also donated money to his GOP presidential rivals.
One of his biggest past donors, hotel and aerospace executive Robert Bigelow, told Reuters that he wouldn’t donate unless DeSantis adopted more moderate policies and showed “that he’s able to generate more [contributions] on his own.”
His biggest donors have also complained about DeSantis’ signing of a hardline six-week abortion ban and, of course, of his pointless Disney crusade. DeSantis is also trailing his main competitor, former President Donald Trump, in he polls by margins of up to 50%.
Source of data and images: lgbtqnation