Mike Pence Weighs In On Florida “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Controversy and His Possible 2024 Run

Former Vice President Mike Pence recently weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The legislation bans instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, but contains nebulous language that such instruction in higher grades must be “age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”[0]

Pence supports DeSantis’ efforts to protect parental rights in the classroom, but disagreed with the Florida governor’s follow-up actions against Disney, one of the state’s largest employers.[1]

“I have concerns about the follow-on. Disney stepped into the fray, they lost. But then [with] the taxing authority — that was beyond the scope of what I, as a conservative, limited-government Republican, would be prepared to do,” Pence said on CNBC’s Squawk Box.[2]

The debate over the bill led to an exchange between DeSantis and Bob Chapek, Disney’s CEO at the time, who called the governor to express his “disappointment and concern” that the legislation could be used to target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families.[3]

Pence’s comments come as President Joe Biden has pushed back against Republicans who he says are seeking cuts to Social Security and Medicare.[4] House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said that doing so is off the table, but the GOP is clearly seeking to reduce entitlements.[5]

Pence has also not ruled out supporting Trump if he wins the GOP nomination for president in 2024. He remarked that the party will “have greater alternatives” than the former president, but said that he would “keep [us] posted” on whether he intends to run for president.[6]

When asked about the matter, Ryan responded that he believes that candidates who are “focused on the past” and relitigating the 2020 election did not do well when they should have.[6]

Ultimately, the Florida legislature moved to give DeSantis control over the board that oversees development at Walt Disney World earlier this month.[1] Going forward, Pence and other Republicans will have to decide how to address Social Security and Medicare, two issues that are likely to remain at the forefront in the years to come.[7]

0. “Ron DeSantis claims former Disney CEO Bob Chapek complained to him about the ‘pressure’ he was under” Daily Mail, 27 Feb. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11797637/Ron-DeSantis-claims-former-Disney-CEO-Bob-Chapek-complained-pressure-under.html

1. “Pence: DeSantis’ Disney Actions Not a ‘Limited-Government’ Response” Newsmax, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/mike-pence-ron-desantis-florida/2023/02/22/id/1109756

2. “Mike Pence Defends Disney and Crucifies DeSantis” Disney Dining, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.disneydining.com/mike-pence-defends-disney-and-crucifies-desantis-em1

3. “Former Disney CEO privately complained to DeSantis about ‘pressure’ from woke left amid Florida fight: book” Yahoo! Voices, 27 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/former-disney-ceo-privately-complained-060015125.html

4. “Pence: Social Security, Medicare Reforms Needed for Long Haul” Newsmax, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/mike-pence-medicare-social-security/2023/02/22/id/1109720/

5. “Pence: Cutting Medicare, Social Security Ultimately Needs to Be ‘On the Table’” Yahoo Entertainment, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/pence-cutting-medicare-social-security-183056943.html

6. “Mike Pence Might Have Already Killed His Presidential Hopes” Newsweek, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pence-medicare-social-security-trump-2024-1783280

7. “Pence swipes at DeSantis’s ‘big government’ attack on Disney” Washington Examiner, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/business/mike-pence-swipes-ron-desantis-disney-policy

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