TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a new interview that Disney should drop its lawsuit that accuses him of political retaliation.

“I’m not fine with giving extraordinary privileges, you know, to one special company at the exclusion of everybody else,” DeSantis said on CNBC’s “Last Call.”

“They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose the lawsuit,” he said.

DeSantis said if Disney CEO Bob Iger called him, he’d say “drop the lawsuit.”

The governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate said Florida is a great place to do business, and said Disney’s competitors have all done “very well” without any special privileges.

A group of former governors and lawmakers said DeSantis’ retaliation is “severely damaging to the political, social, and economic fabric” of Florida.

The group of former governors, U.S. House members and presidential administration officials filed a “friend of the court” brief on Wednesday in Disney’s federal lawsuit against DeSantis and his appointees to the board of Disney World’s governing district. Disney’s lawsuit says the Republican governor violated the company’s free speech rights by taking over the district after Disney publicly opposed Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which banned classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.

The group’s goal in filing the brief last week is to demonstrate “how the path the Governor has chosen is corrosive to the form of democracy envisioned by the Constitution, and to re-emphasize this Court’s critical constitutional role in curbing the excesses of governance by retaliation,” they said in a court filing.

Specifically, the group says that DeSantis’ actions harm Florida economically because firms are being dissuaded from doing business in Florida since they could be subject to the governor’s retaliatory whims if they ever voice disapproval over his policies. The group noted that Disney scrapped plans for a $1 billion campus in Orlando that would have relocated 2,000 employees from Southern California, following a year of attacks by DeSantis.

The group is made up of two former GOP governors, Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey and Arne Carlson of Minnesota; three former Republican U.S. House members, Tom Coleman of Missouri, Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island and Christopher Shays of Connecticut; and a host of attorneys, commissioners, chiefs of staff and other officials from previous Democratic and Republican presidential administrations.

DeSantis’ actions were retribution with a goal of discouraging Disney and others from opposing his policies in the future, said the officials who compared the takeover to autocratic actions taken in Russian and China.

DeSantis appointees took control of the Disney World district earlier this year following a yearlong feud between the company and DeSantis. The fight began last year after Disney, beset by significant pressure internally and externally, publicly opposed a state law banning classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades, a policy critics call “Don’t Say Gay.”

As punishment, Republican lawmakers passed legislation reconstituting the district and DeSantis appointed a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the sprawling theme parks and hotels. Disney sued DeSantis and his five board appointees in federal court, saying the governor violated the company’s free speech rights by taking the retaliatory action.

Before the new board came in, Disney made agreements with previous oversight board members who were Disney supporters that stripped the new supervisors of their authority over design and development. The DeSantis-appointed members of the governing district have sued Disney in state court in a second lawsuit stemming from the district’s takeover, seeking to invalidate those agreements.

Background reporting from the Associated Press.