Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried disregarded Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order for flags to be flown at half-staff to honor talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, with Fried saying the state shouldn’t “celebrate hate speech.”
Limbaugh died Feb. 17 from complications from lung cancer. He was 70.
Fried’s refusal to honor Limbaugh means that the state offices she oversees will not lower flags to half-staff. The Florida Department of Agricultural consists of dozens of office buildings and inspection stations.
“It is not a partisan political tool,” Fried 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.”
DeSantis, a Republican, drew criticism from Florida Democrats for his decision to pay homage to Limbaugh, who was clearly despised by most Democrats.
“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 rally last week.
The state protocol in Florida says flags should be flown at half-staff on certain holidays, if state officials die, or if Florida members of the Armed Forces, police officers or firefighters from die while on active duty.
Florida State. Senator Gary Farmer, another Democrat, was the first to offer a whiny response to DeSantis’ decision to honor Limbaugh.
“Lowering the flag of the United States is a high honor reserved for those who have honorably and bravely served our state and our nation,” Farmer said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Gov. DeSantis has now transformed this distinction into a partisan political tool to salute a man who served no other interests than his own and did his best to deeply divide a country along political fault lines.”