Florida Officials Balk at Lowering Flags for Limbaugh

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, others will not follow governor's directive
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2021 1:59 AM CST
Florida Officials Reject Order to Lower Flags for Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh speaks during a ceremony inducting him into the Hall of Famous Missourians on May 14, 2012, in the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Julie Smith, File)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants flags in the state flown half-staff when famous resident Rush Limbaugh is laid to rest, but some Florida officials aren't having it. "Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool," says Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in a statement cited by NBC Miami. "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." Fried, whose office oversees a number of state offices and facilities including nine regional licensing offices, 38 state forests, and 23 agricultural law enforcement inspection stations, continued, "Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them."

WFLA reports that St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will also decline: "Not lowering flags for Rush," he tweeted. "In St. Pete we don’t honor hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, or anything else he has spewed over the years." And WPTV reports West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James also won't comply, and another mayor, Oakland Park's Jane F. Bolin, is not only refusing to lower flags but is calling on all state leaders to do the same. The station notes that Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay is investigating whether it's even legal for DeSantis to order that flags be lowered. "My concern is that the governor is bending over backwards to honor a radio host who has consistently made racist, polarizing and conspiracy comments,” Fried told ABC News Monday. "It is really inappropriate, and the governor is playing politics with this American treasure, which is our flag." (Read more Rush Limbaugh stories.)

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