Updated Apr 18, 2023, 10:41am EDT
North America

Chris Christie: 'I don't think Ron DeSantis is a conservative'

Semafor's Steve Clemons and Chris Christie
Tasos Katopodis for Semafor

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Former New Jersey governor and potential 2024 presidential hopeful Chris Christie said Tuesday that he doesn't think Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a conservative, based on his public feud with Disney.

During a live interview with Semafor's Steve Clemons, Christie said that "as a conservative, the job of government is … to stay out of the business of business."

“I don't think Ron DeSantis is a conservative," he added.

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DeSantis — who is considered a leading contender for president but has not announced he is running — has publicly criticized Disney since last year, when Disney's then-CEO criticized the Florida education law that critics called the "Don't say gay" bill.

DeSantis has sought to use his power as governor to enact punitive measures against the company. Most recently, DeSantis on Monday floated the idea of building a state prison on state-controlled land located near Disney World.

"Where are we headed here now that if you express disagreement in this country, the government is allowed to punish you? To me, that's what I always thought liberals did," Christie said.

In one instance, Disney sidestepped an effort from DeSantis to create a hand-picked oversight board for the Disney district by limiting the board's power.

"That’s not the guy I want sitting across from President Xi and negotiating our next agreement with China, or sitting across from Putin and trying to resolve what’s happening in Ukraine, if you can’t see around a corner that [Disney CEO] Bob Iger created for you," Christie said.

"You have to admit when you screwed up and got taken. It happens," he added, saying that the ordeal calls DeSantis' maturity and judgment into question.

Christie also said Tuesday that he plans to make a decision about running for president in the next couple of weeks.


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