President Joe Biden on Thursday criticized the Republican Party over its confrontation with Disney and suggested the “far right has taken over the party.”
It’s the first time that Biden, who was speaking at a fundraiser in Oregon, has commented on the feud between Disney and Republicans. The party, in an effort to galvanize its base, has seized on Disney over the corporation’s opposition to legislation that prohibits schools from teaching young children about sexual orientation or gender identity. In retaliation, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has led an effort to curtail special privileges Disney enjoys in the state.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said at one point on Thursday, later adding: “It’s not even conservative in a traditional sense of conservatism. It’s mean, it’s ugly. I mean, look at what’s happening now in Florida: Christ, they’re going after Mickey Mouse.”
Biden also used his remarks to look ahead to the fall’s midterm elections. He specifically criticized Republican Sen. Rick Scott’s campaign proposals for the future of the GOP, which include completing former President Donald Trump’s border wall and calling for all Americans to pay some income tax.
The President expressed optimism about the upcoming midterms, even though the Democratic Party’s prospects are widely seen as bleak.
“I think we can pick up two Senate seats,” Biden said, according to reporters at the event. “But I’ll admit, what I haven’t done is getting out on the road again instead of dealing with the many emergencies in my office.”
He said he would do more to talk about his record in the future.
The GOP-Disney feud took off after the company at first refused to make a public statement about the legislation, prompting internal outrage from some employees. After initially declining to weigh in, Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly criticized Florida lawmakers for passing the bill, apologized to the company’s LGBTQ employees for not being a stronger advocate and announced that Disney would stop making political donations in Florida after decades of contributing generously, mostly to Republicans, including a $50,000 donation to DeSantis’ reelection effort.
Consequentially, Florida lawmakers, acting at DeSantis’ behest, passed a pair of bills on Thursday to eliminate the unique status that allows the entertainment company to operate as an independent government around its Orlando-area theme parks and to eliminate a carve-out in a social media bill that was signed into law last year but put on hold by a federal judge.