Governor ordering flags half-staff for Rush Limbaugh becomes political controversy

Published: February 23, 2021 7:13 PM EST
Updated: February 24, 2021 7:48 AM EST

Governor DeSantis did, on Tuesday evening, order flags to be lowered to half-staff but this will only be observed at the Palm Beach County Courthouse, City Hall and the State Capitol building from sunrise to sunset.

Palm Beach County will refuse this order, according to commissioner Melissa McKinlay.


Original Story:

Governor Ron DeSantis has stated that he will order flags to be flown at half-staff to honor conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh once funeral arrangements are announced. But, teachers are asking The School District of Lee County not to lower flags.

There are not any limitations on who the governor can lower flags for. But, a longtime political observer calls Governor DeSantis’ decision “purely political.” And Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s decision to ignore the order? Purely political as well.

The American flag flying at half-staff is a symbol of respect and honor. This is normally done after the death of former politicians, law enforcement or military service members.

“Once the date of internment for Rush is announced we’re going to be lowering the flags to half staff,” DeSantis said.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that he wants to honor the late conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh with this gesture. But, not everyone is on board.

Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says she will not comply with the order and plans to keep flags flying high at state offices she oversees.

“Our flag cannot be used as a political prop, which is what the governor is doing,” said Fried.

Thomas Pound is a high school teacher in Lee County. “I teach a lot of students who fall in the category of people of color, immigrants, children of immigrants,” Pound said.

He wants the superintendent and the rest of the school board to ignore the governor’s request as well.

“I think it forces the children to honor somebody who doesn’t respect them, who wouldn’t respect them,” said Pound.

Peter Bergerson is a Political Science Professor at FGCU. “Rush Limbaugh has bought both positive and negative attention to the state,” he said.

Bergerson says lowering the flags is a political judgment called on by the governor.

“He doesn’t stand to lose a substantive number of votes by recognizing Rush Limbaugh,” Bergerson said.

The state’s flag protocol states that there is no penalty for not lowering the flags to half staff. A spokesperson for the school district said it would be premature for them to comment on an executive order that has not been issued yet.