WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans to honor the late conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh by lowering state flags to half-staff.
Governor DeSantis began a news conference in West Palm Beach on Friday morning by talking about Limbaugh, who was a Palm Beach resident. "I know they are still figuring out the arrangements, but what we do when there are things of this magnitude, once the date of internment for Rush Limbaugh is announced, we're going to be lowering the flags to half-staff," said DeSantis.
Limbaugh died Feb. 17 at the age of 70, a year after announcing he had Stage Four lung cancer. He was unflinchingly conservative, wildly partisan, bombastically self-promoting and larger than life.
He doesn't, however, appear to fit within the State's protocol for lowering the State flag.
According to the Executive Office of the Governor Flag Protocol, state flags are to flown at half-staff after the death of a principal figure in the U.S. government, such as a President or former President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justice or retired Justice or Speaker of the House. The protocol also states flags can be flown at half-staff for a Supreme Court Associate Justice, secretary of an executive or military department, former Vice President of the United States or Member of Congress from Florida. The Governor can also order flags flown at half-staff after the death of a Florida State government official, or death of Armed Forces member from Florida while serving on active duty, in addition to prominent present or former State of Florida officials and Florida law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty and selected other State and local officials.
Limbaugh was frequently accused of bigotry and blatant racism but could often enunciate the Republican platform better and more entertainingly than any party leader, becoming a GOP kingmaker.
Former President Trump heaped praise on Limbaugh, and during last year's State of the Union speech, awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. On Wednesday, Trump lauded Limbaugh on Fox News as "a legend" who "was fighting till the very end."
In his statement on Wednesday, Governor DeSantis said "Rush busted through a media landscape in which a handful of media outlets served up pre-cooked, liberal narratives." He also called Limbaugh the "GOAT - of radio, of conservative media and of inspiring a loyal army of American patriots."
While on "Fox and Friends" Thursday, DeSantis credited Limbaugh with helping him reach voters and ultimately win the Governor's race. Democrats, including a potential 2022 opponent, were not happy to hear the news about the flag-lowering.
"DeSantis is lowering Florida's flags to half–staff for Rush Limbaugh. But he had no words for Congressman John Lewis. Priorities," tweeted Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Friday.
Fried is the only Democrat to hold a statewide office. She released a video earlier in the week taking shots at DeSantis in a campaign-style video that casts the Republican as unempathetic amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic and beholden to Donald Trump.
Even though she did not announce a bid to challenge DeSantis for the governor's mansion in next year's election, it did set off more speculation and could accelerate the jockeying within a Democratic field considering a run against DeSantis.
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