Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) on Monday said that she will direct offices under her purview to disregard Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) order to lower flags to half-staff to commemorate the late conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
“Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. 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,” Fried said in a statement Monday.
“Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them,” she added. “Our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.”
Fried was elected to office independently of DeSantis and has been a frequent critic of the governor.
DeSantis announced the lowering of flags Friday, the day after Limbaugh, a longtime Florida resident, died at 70 from lung cancer. Although tributes rolled in hailing Limbaugh for his influence on the modern conservative movement, critics also pointed out his history of inflammatory comments, such as comparing a then-teenage Chelsea Clinton to a dog and calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she testified in favor of requiring that health insurance cover birth control.