After being directed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to lower flags to half staff in honor of the late Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday, Palm Beach County opted to ignore it.
The Capitol in Tallahassee and Palm Beach Town Hall, however, did fly their flags at half staff from sunrise to sunset, as instructed.
The popular conservative radio host died Feb. 17 at the age of 70 from lung cancer. However, he wasn’t beloved by all. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, announced on social media that she directed state offices to disregard the order, saying lowering the flag “is a sacred honor for fallen heroes — not a partisan political tool.”
County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay confirmed on Twitter that the county courthouse would not lower its flag.
In response, the governor’s press office said, “It is unfortunate that Palm Beach County would rather engage in petty politics than honor the death of one of their county’s and state’s most prominent residents and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient."
The governor’s flag memorandum was directed to Palm Beach town hall, the Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach, and the Capitol building in Tallahassee. Orders vary — for example, the memorandum for lowering the flags on Feb. 14 in honor of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was for the entire state.
When flags were lowered in honor of the two FBI agents killed earlier this month, the directive was for the flags in the city and county courthouse where they lived and the Capitol building, same as Limbaugh.
While Palm Beach County opted to ignore the flag memorandum, the flag was lowered at half staff at the Capitol building in Tallahassee and Palm Beach Town Hall. The town of Palm Beach — where Limbaugh lived and also home to Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago — said in a statement that its policy is to follow the governor’s orders, according to the AP.
Rush. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/ztP6JylfmO— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 24, 2021
Although not a part of the order, Oakland Park Mayor Jane Bolin expressed her disapproval of the flag memorandum.
“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,” she said in a press release.
Over the years, Limbaugh made many controversial comments, including against the LGBT community. In fact, in announcing his death, the Advocate’s headline was “Hateful Homophobe Rush Limbaugh Dead at 70.” He blamed marriage equality for incestuous relationships, said Melania Trump’s leaked girl-on-girl photo shoot would “wrap up” the LGBT vote, and urged the GOP not to embrace Republican Caitlyn Jenner after her transition.
When Pete Buttigieg was running for president, Limbaugh said, “Okay, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?” He then added that “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”
The front gate of Rush Limbaugh's house. Submitted photo.