At a Democratic fundraiser in Seattle on Thursday, President Biden weighed in on the fallout over the bill signed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last month banning teachers from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity — the measure dubbed by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said at the fundraiser, which was hosted by the Democratic National Committee. “This is a different deal, not a joke. And it’s not just Trump, it’s the MAGA crowd. It’s all about things that have nothing to do with traditional conservative doctrine.”
Earlier Thursday, Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature passed additional legislation that would strip the Walt Disney Co. of its self-governance privileges in the state after the company criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” law. It was passed by the state Senate on Wednesday and signed by DeSantis Friday afternoon.
“Disney and other woke corporations won’t get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer,” DeSantis wrote in a letter to his supporters Wednesday. “If we want to keep the Democrat machine and their corporate lapdogs accountable, we have to stand together now.”
“I respect conservatives,” Biden continued. “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’? I mean, what’s going on here? What the hell is going on here?”
Biden made similar comments at a DNC fundraiser in Portland, Ore., earlier in the day.
“The far right has taken over that party,” Biden said. “It’s not even conservative in a traditional sense of conservative. It’s mean. It’s ugly. It’s the way — look what’s happening down in Florida. They’re going after Mickey Mouse. I mean, seriously, think about it. As my friend used to say, ‘Who woulda thunk it?’”
The White House had sharply condemned the bill — known as H.B. 1557 and titled “Parental Rights in Education” — before it was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by DeSantis.
“It’s a form of bullying,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on March 10. “It is horrific.”