Gov. Ron DeSantis told a GOP audience Friday morning that he would order state flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday.
The idea drew quick condemnation from Senate Democratic leader Gary Farmer.
“Any move to lower our flag in deference to a man who helped drive the hatred and inflame the prejudices against marginalized groups, people of color, women, and anyone who did not look like him or think like him is wrong, and should be rescinded. This is not who we are. This is not who we want to be,” Sen. Farmer, of Broward County, said in a press statement.
DeSantis, speaking at a gathering in West Palm Beach that looked and sounded like a campaign rally, lauded Limbaugh, a resident of Palm Beach.
“The guy was an absolute legend, he was a friend of mine, and just a great person,” DeSantis said. “As we do with things of this magnitude … we’re going to be lowering the flags to half-staff. “
DeSantis invited Limbaugh’s radio talk-show producer, James Golden, to speak at Friday’s event. He greeted Golden with a hug. None of the keynote speakers and few in the audience were wearing face masks.
“America will be great again, not just because of Rush, because of men like — and women — but men like this governor,” Golden said, alluding to former President Donald Trump’s MAGA movement and pointing to DeSantis.
Farmer said DeSantis would cheapen the practice of lowering the flag by so honoring a media tycoon who intentionally stoked divisiveness in the United States.
“Lowering the flag of the United States is a high honor reserved for those who have honorably and bravely served our state and our nation,” Farmer said. “Unfortunately, Governor DeSantis has now transformed this distinction into a partisan political tool to salute a man who served no other interests than his own and did his best to deeply divide a country along political fault lines.”