Florida officials defy Gov. Ron Desantis' order to lower flags in honor of Limbaugh

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Florida's Republican governor ordered flags in the state to fly at half-staff in honor of bigoted radio show host Rush Limbaugh.

Florida's Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, is defying a state order to fly flags at half-staff after the death of racist, sexist radio show host Rush Limbaugh, who died last week after of lung cancer.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, ordered the flags to be lowered after Limbaugh's funeral, praising Limbaugh's ability to "connect with his listeners across the fruited plain."

But Fried said she will not comply, and will keep the flags over Florida Department of Agriculture buildings raised.

"The American flag should not be used and cannot be used as a political prop by Gov. DeSantis," Fried told CNN Tuesday morning.

She said DeSantis' decision to lower the flags for Limbaugh shows DeSantis "is bending over backwards to honor a radio host who spent his entire career talking hate speech and talking bigotry and division and conspiracy theories."

Over the course of his radio career, Limbaugh was a hate-monger who spewed racist, homophobic, and sexist attacks on people of all stripes, including children, the disabled, and celebrities.

Fried is not the only official in Florida criticizing DeSantis' order to lower the flags in honor of Limbaugh.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted on Monday that his city will not be lowering its flags.

"In St. Pete we don't honor hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, or anything else he has spewed over the years," Kriseman tweeted. "We are, however, honoring the life of Deputy Michael Magli of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office."

Oakland Park, Florida, Mayor Jane Bolin is urging fellow city officials to band together to refuse to lower the flags.

"Once we cross that divide and say, 'Well, I'm going to say Rush Limbaugh is a prominent citizen and I'm going to lower the flag' ... to me, it just adds more to this political theater and is not what our country needs right now," Bolin told the Tallahassee Democrat.

Fried is the only Democrat currently elected statewide in Florida. There have been reports that she is mulling challenging DeSantis in 2022, when DeSantis is up for reelection.

In her interview with CNN, Fried said that "lowering our flags should be a symbol of unity, not division."

"So we will not be lowering our flags at my department state offices to honor Rush Limbaugh and we will not celebrate hate speech," Fried said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.