Florida officials refuse demand to lower flag for Rush Limbaugh

Gino Spocchia
·2 min read
<p>Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried</p> (AP)

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried

(AP)

Officials in Florida have refused to lower flags for Rush Limbaugh, the late conservative talk show personality, following a call by governor Ron DeSantis.

The controversy follows the Republican’s call for Florida to commemorate the former Palm Beach resident, who died on Wednesday following a lung cancer diagnosis.

Mr DeSantis described Mr Limbaugh on Wednesday as someone who could “connect with his listeners across the fruited plain,” despite ridiculing minorities and women, and was at times homophobic, in the past.

Nikki Fried, Florida’s only elected Democratic commissioner, criticised the decision by Mr DeSantis to commemorate the controversial personality on Monday.

She said in a statement that she would not direct offices under her control to lower flags because doing so would “celebrate” the “bigotry and division” of Mr Limbaugh.

“Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honour that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool,” Ms Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner, said.

“Therefore, I will notify all state offices under my direction to disregard the governor’s forthcoming order to lower flags for Mr Limbaugh — because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division.”

Ms Fried added that “our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.”

The remarks followed a similar call by Jane Bolin, the mayor of Oakland Park in Broward County, to ignore the demands made by Mr DeSantis.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Ms Bolin said on Monday that lowering flags for Mr Limbaugh would be “political theatre and is not what our country needs right now.”

The mayor of Tallahassee, John Dailey, meanwhile told the outlet that no decision has been made as to whether or not flags would be lowered for Mr Limbaugh in the city.

“I know that lowering the flag to half-staff is something citizens take seriously...I know in the state of Florida we do it to honour national leaders, military leaders and great Floridians, so we are researching our policies and procedures,” Mr Dailey said.

Mr DeSantis, who has the ability to order flags to be lowered as governor, said they would be lowered when funeral plans are announced for Mr Limbaugh.

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