Critics of the late bigoted talk radio host Rush Limbaugh are furious that Florida’s GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis is honoring the man with an order to fly state flags at half-staff.
“What we do when there’s things of this magnitude, once the date of interment for Rush is announced, we’re going to be lowering the flags to half-staff,” DeSantis said at a political rally Friday in West Palm Beach, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
“Rush busted through a media landscape in which a handful of media outlets served up pre-cooked, liberal narratives,” DeSantis said earlier this week. He inspired a “loyal army of American patriots,” the governor added.
Limbaugh, who lived in Palm Beach, died Wednesday of lung cancer at 70. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump last year.
Floridians had something to say about DeSantis’ order.
“By compelling Florida cities to honor the man who made a career of sowing political division through bigoted and racist statements, Gov. DeSantis is turning our flag into a decoration for his own political theater,” Oakland Park Mayor Jane Bolin said in a statement Sunday.
She called on other mayors, commissioners and city managers to “take a stand” on this issue. Failure to do so is “tantamount to being complicit in politicizing — and even demeaning — the dignity of our flag,” she added.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) tweeted Friday in response to the governor’s decision that Limbaugh “weaponized his platform to spread racism, xenophobia and homophobia across the nation. DeSantis’ decision to honor him is an embarrassment to Florida,” she added.
Gary Farmer, the Democratic minority leader of the state Senate, slammed the governor for taking the action as a “partisan political tool” rather than as a tool of recognition for people who “have honorably and bravely served our state and our nation.”
“Any move to lower our flag in deference to a man who helped drive the hatred and inflame the prejudices against marginalized groups, people of color, women, and anyone who did not look like him or think like him is wrong, and should be rescinded,” Farmer said in a statement. “This is not who we are. This is not who we want to be.”
DeSantis’ order would appear to break the state’s own flag protocol. State flags are to be lowered only on certain holidays honoring veterans; if a present or former governor of Florida dies; if an active service member from Florida dies; if a prominent state official dies or if a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty.
A constituent may formally request that flags be lowered for some other reason, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether that occurred in this case.