(The Hill) — President Joe Biden criticized Florida Republicans during a pair of fundraisers Thursday for targeting Disney after the company expressed opposition to a new state law restricting discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.
“I respect conservatives. There’s nothing conservative about deciding you’re going to throw Disney out of its present posture because, Mickey Mouse? In fact, you think we should not be able to say, you know, ‘gay’?” Biden said during a fundraiser in Seattle on Thursday evening.
“I mean, what’s going on here? What the hell is going on here? And it’s just, it’s so, I don’t think this is where the vast majority of the American people are,” Biden said.
Biden similarly took aim at Republicans in Florida during an earlier fundraiser in Portland, calling the targeting of Disney “ugly.”
In both appearances, Biden argued that the Republican Party was straying from the traditional sense of conservativism and has become the “MAGA” party, a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different deal, not a joke. And it’s not just Trump, it’s the MAGA crowd,” Biden told the gathering in Seattle, which like the Portland event was organized to raise money for the Democratic National Committee.
The White House has previously condemned the Florida bill, which opponents have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but Biden’s remarks Thursday represented his first public comments about the Republican efforts to target Disney.
Earlier Thursday, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One that the administration opposed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) effort to strip Disney of its special regulatory status because of its opposition to the bill restricting school teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation.
“We oppose the governor taking action against a company because of their opposition to that bill,” Jean-Pierre said. “And we’re just going to leave it there for now; we’re not going to say anymore to that.”
The Florida House of Representatives voted Thursday to eliminate a special district that allows Disney to operate as an independent government around its Florida theme parks.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation last month after being silent on the bill. He has also pledged to pause political donations in Florida over the legislation.