Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says that she will direct state offices “under her purview” to ignore Gov. Ron DeSantis’ upcoming order to lower all flags to half-staff in recognition of Rush Limbaugh, who recently passed away from lung cancer.
In a statement, Commissioner Fried, who is expected to announce a gubernatorial run against Gov. DeSantis later this year, stated that the lowering of the flag should not be used as a “partisan political tool” and called Limbaugh a bigot who sewed division with his “hate speech.”
“Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots,” stated Fried. “It is not a partisan political tool. 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. Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them. Our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.”
Last week, Fried took issue with DeSantis’ statement to honor Limbaugh by questioning why he didn’t do anything for Georgia Rep. John Lewis (D) who passed away last year.
“Governor Ron DeSantis is lowering Florida’s flags to half-staff for Rush Limbaugh,” tweeted Fried. “But he had no words for Congressman John Lewis. Priorities.”
As we pointed out, Limbaugh was a resident of Florida. Congressman Lewis was a resident of Georgia, so it would have been up to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to have acknowledge the late civil rights champion.
Fried cites the Governor’s Executive Office’s actual flag protocol that states that the lowering of the of the flag state or national, “is to be lowered primarily (but not exclusively) “for federal officials including the President, Vice President, Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, Speaker of the U.S. House, members of Congress from Florida, prominent State of Florida officials, and Florida law enforcement officers, firefighters, and members of the Armed Forces from Florida who have died in the line of duty.”
The protocol Fried points to does not prevent DeSantis from lower the flag to half-staff for any Floridian, even Rush Limbaugh, who recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States, and is award to an individual who has made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Executive Director of the Republican Party of Florida, Helen Aguirre Ferre issued a statement to The Floridian in regard to the passing of Rush Limbaugh:
“Rush Limbaugh was a great American and Floridian who created a powerful communications platform for millions of hard-working, God-fearing, and patriotic Americans who are constantly misunderstood and derided by left-wing politicians and their advocates. His wit and wisdom put a spotlight on Conservative values and the founding principles of our Constitution. We applaud Governor DeSantis for awaiting the appropriate time to lower the state flags at half-staff. The left will flinch but then they do not understand the Conservative principles and values that Florida voters uphold and keep Florida RED.”