Billionaire Ken Griffin criticized Ron DeSantis’ ongoing feud with the Walt Disney Co., calling the Florida governor’s fight with the state’s major employer “pointless.”

“It doesn’t reflect the spirit of Florida very well,” Griffin said in an interview with CNBC scheduled to air Monday night. DeSantis needs to “make it clear to all of America that Florida is open for companies that want to create jobs.”

“The fight against Disney goes against that narrative,” he added.

Griffin, the founder of hedge fund Citadel and market maker Citadel Securities, moved his operations from Chicago to DeSantis’ state. His criticism comes as Republican presidential candidate DeSantis is trying to win over donors to fund his struggling campaign. DeSantis, who trailed far behind former President Donald Trump in the Republican primary, has so far failed to win the support of several major Republican donors, including Griffin, who have delayed making contributions to either Trump or DeSantis. Santis donated.

DeSantis’ feud with Disney began last year after the company spoke out against what critics say is Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which restricts teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms. The fight has escalated into a political and legal war between the governor and the entertainment giant, which employs about 70,000 people in the state.

Griffin, who endorsed DeSantis earlier this year, told Bloomberg in an interview that he would like to see the governor run for president. But he told CNBC he’s not interested in alternatives to Trump and has yet to decide who he plans to support.

“I’m still on the fence about who to support in this election cycle,” Griffin told CNBC. “If I had my dream, we would have a great Republican candidate in the primaries who is younger, of a different generation and has a different tone for America. In the primaries, there will be a great Republican candidate on the Democratic side. Younger, he will carry his message to our country.”

Griffin’s decision to refuse to endorse could have significant consequences for the 2024 election. Griffin’s wealth is estimated at $37.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Griffin is the second-largest Republican donor in the 2022 midterm elections, giving $72.7 million to Republican candidates, according to to OpenSecrets.

“I don’t know his strategy,” he said of DeSantis. “It’s not clear to me what base of voters he intends to appeal to.”

“Under his leadership, Florida State has prevailed during the pandemic. They have had great success,” he added. “Sometimes success goes to people’s heads.”

DeSantis is slowly losing ground to Trump. According to the poll, the former president’s approval rating is 56.6% to DeSantis’ 12.7% poll average Compiled by RealClearPolitics.

Griffin announced in 2022 that he would move his company’s headquarters from Chicago to Miami, citing rising crime and dissatisfaction with Illinois’ political leaders as his main motivations. He has repeatedly criticized Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat.

He told CNBC that Citadel is developing in Miami and New York City, which he compared to the “anarchy” of Chicago.

“These two American cities have a very important value proposition for young college graduates,” he said. “That drives us away from other cities in the U.S. and toward Miami, New York, where the quality of life has been deteriorating over the past few years due to various issues brought on by the pandemic.”

Citadel has about 4,500 employees worldwide and currently has about 250 employees in Miami, where it plans to spend at least $1 billion to establish its headquarters.


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