Palm Beach County has defied the Florida governor and refused to lower its flags for a day in honor of the late Conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Palm Beach County challenged Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday, refusing to lower the courthouse flags to half-staff in honor of the late Conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh.
The county courthouse flags remained fully staffed, ignoring Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Tuesday afternoon order for the United States and Florida flags to be flown at half mast. He also ordered the Town of Palm Beach and the State Capitol in Tallahassee to fly their flags at half mast from sunrise to sunset Wednesday. They lowered those flags.
Palm Beach County only said it followed “normal protocols” on Wednesday, but Commissioner Melissa McKinlay posted a statement on Twitter that said: “The lowering of flags should be a unifying gesture during solemn occasions, such as in remembrance of the lives of youths lost during the Parkland High School massacre or the line-of-duty deaths of first responders. ” He was referring to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in nearby Parkland that left 17 people dead.
McKinlay continued: “Although Rush Limbaugh was an important public figure, he was also an incredibly divisive person who hurt many people with his words and actions.”
Officials from the city of Palm Beach, the wealthy island enclave where Limbaugh lived for two decades, issued a statement saying it is their policy to comply with the governor’s orders to lower the flags.
The governor’s press office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Flags are typically lowered to honor prominent government officials, as well as law enforcement officers and members of the military killed in the line of duty. DeSantis has said that Limbaugh’s stature justified the honor.
Limbaugh, 70, died of lung cancer on February 17. DeSantis called Limbaugh a legend during a press conference two days later and indicated that he would order flags to be flown at half-mast to honor him.
But many Democrats objected. Nikki Fried, Florida’s agriculture commissioner and the only Democratic official in the entire state, said Monday that she would not follow the orders of the Republican governor. He said he would notify all state officials he oversees to ignore the governor’s order.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman posted on Twitter that his city would not honor hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, or whatever else Limbaugh has spewed out over the years.
The governor’s order does not apply to any of the offices controlled by Fried or the city of St. Petersburg.
Limbaugh had championed conservatism for decades, often stridently at the expense of Liberals and Democrats.
Calvan reported from Tallahassee, Florida.