Larry Hogan Rips DeSantis for Heavy Hand With Disney, Cruise Lines, Schools

Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Sunday for his "crazy fight" with Disney over the state's "Don't Say Gay" legislation during an interview with CNN.

DeSantis, also a Republican, has publicly feuded with Disney in recent weeks after the company condemned the controversial legislation, saying its goal is to see it either be repealed or overturned. The Florida governor on Thursday suggested he may support measures to retaliate against the company by ending its special status that allows its Florida theme park to operate as an independent government.

Hogan ripped DeSantis' handling of the situation on CNN's State of the Union.

"The whole thing seems like just a crazy fight," he said. "It concerns me that DeSantis is always talking about he was not demanding that businesses do things, but he was telling the cruise lines what they had to do. He was telling local schools what they were mandating. And now he wants to criticize Disney for expressing how they feel about that bill."

Disney has "every right" to say how they feel about the law that DeSantis signed in March, the Maryland governor said, adding, "we have a thing called freedom of speech." He also said that he believes that the bill is "absurd" and "not something that would have happened in our state."

The bill has received backlash from LGBTQ advocates and others, who say its broad language is intended to silence members of the community. Supporters of the law, however, argue it is meant to prevent students from learning about topics regarding sexuality at a young age.

Disney condemned the bill last month, writing in a statement that its "goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the Legislature or struck down in the courts" after receiving backlash for initially remaining silent.

Hogan recalled two other instances where DeSantis engaged in public feuds over his policies, specifically surrounding the pandemic. Last July, he signed an executive order meant to ensure parents the "freedom to choose" whether or not their child wears a mask in school.

When some school districts defied the order, his office responded by saying the state's Board of Education could withhold salaries from superintendents or school board members in districts where students were required to wear masks. The action was ultimately not taken.

DeSantis also quarreled with cruise lines over mandatory vaccines. Some cruise companies wanted to require their guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19, however the governor signed a bill into law banning businesses in the state from requiring proof of vaccination, citing "personal choice."

Both governors are viewed as potential 2024 presidential candidates. DeSantis is largely seen as a front-runner—so long as former President Donald Trump does not run again—winning in many GOP primary polls.

Hogan, a moderate Republican governing a solidly Democratic state, has also said he would consider a 2024 presidential run, according to Axios.

Newsweek reached out to the offices of DeSantis and Hogan for comment Sunday afternoon, but did not hear back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Larry Hogan criticizes Ron DeSantis
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, above in August 2021, criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his “crazy fight” with Disney over the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.  Drew Angerer/Getty Images