Joe Biden Mocks Ron DeSantis for 'Going After Mickey Mouse'

President Joe Biden appeared to mock Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a speech on Thursday at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraising event over his dispute with the Walt Disney Company.

Biden was speaking at the Portland Yacht Club in Portland, Oregon, when he turned to the subject of the Republican Party, which he said had been taken over by the "Far Right."

The president joked that in Florida, Republicans were now "going after Mickey Mouse," a reference to DeSantis' dispute with Disney over a controversial education law critics have dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law.

DeSantis, a Republican who is widely seen as a strong 2024 presidential contender, is expected to sign a law that would dissolve a special district in Florida that has allowed Disney to operate its own local government in the area where its theme parks are located.

Biden said on Thursday that there was "virtually no Republican support" for his agenda.

"What's happened is that there are a number of Republicans who know better, but they're afraid," Biden said.

"I know — I won't ask for names, but I'm sure my colleagues can tell you from the Senate at least six United States senators have come to me and said, 'I know — I know I should vote for this, Joe. But if I do, they'll primary me and I'll be out," he said.

"It's not very courageous, but this — the Far Right has taken over that party," the president said.

Biden then touched on DeSantis' disagreement with Disney.

"And it's not even conservative in a traditional sense of conservative," Biden said.

"It's mean. It's ugly. It's the way — look what's happening down in Florida," he said.

"Christ, they're going after Mickey Mouse," Biden said.

The official White House transcript does not contain the word "Christ" and marks what Biden said as "inaudible." However, Biden's remarks at that point have been reported independently by news outlets, including CNN.

"I mean, seriously, think about it," Biden went on, according to the transcript. "As my friend used to say, 'Who woulda thunk it?'"

Newsweek has asked Governor Ron DeSantis' office for comment.

Disney was initially criticized for not speaking out against the "Don't Say Gay" law - officially the Parental Rights in Education law - but later took a strong stance against it, pledging to help repeal the law or have it struck down in the courts.

The law prohibits "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner."

On Thursday, the Florida House of Representatives approved a bill that would dissolve Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), which has existed since 1967 and allows Disney to operate its own local government, collect its own taxes and provide its own services such as fire fighting. The state Senate passed companion legislation on Wednesday.

If DeSantis signs the law as expected, RCID will be dissolved on June 1, 2023, but an expert who spoke to Newsweek this week suggested Disney could have the district renewed by the legislature next year before that date arrives.

Joe Biden Delivers Remarks in Portland
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on infrastructure at the Portland Air National Guard base on April 21, 2022, in Portland, Oregon. Biden appeared to mock Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a speech on Thursday. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

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