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DeSantis orders flags lowered to honor Rush Limbaugh

Critics call Florida governor’s decision to honor conservative talk-show ‘partisan’

Rush Limbaugh, pioneering and polarizing radio host, dies at 70

Florida will lower flags to half-staff after funeral plans are set for conservative media icon Rush Limbaugh, a Palm Beach resident who died Wednesday after a battle with cancer, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday.

“When there’s things of this magnitude, once the date of internment for Rush is announced, we’re going to be lowering the flags to half-staff,” DeSantis said during a campaign-style press event at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport in West Palm Beach.

Not everyone thinks giving Limbaugh the same honor as police officers and longtime elected officials is a good idea.

“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,” wrote Sen. Gary Farmer, Democratic leader of the Florida Senate. “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.”

In a statement Wednesday, DeSantis praised Limbaugh for having an ability to “connect with his listeners across the fruited plain -- the hard-working, God-fearing and patriotic Americans who were and are the subject of derision and ridicule by the legacy media.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who is widely rumored to be considering a run against DeSantis next year, contrasted the governor’s response to Limbaugh’s death with the passing in July of John Lewis, a civil rights icon and member of Congress from Georgia.

“@GovRonDeSantis is lowering Florida’s flags to half-staff for Rush Limbaugh. But he had no words for Congressman John Lewis. Priorities,” Fried tweeted on Friday.

DeSantis sent out a tweet offering condolences a day after Lewis died. The tweet came hours after DeSantis, while in St. Augustine, declined to respond to a reporter’s question about Lewis and a local controversy regarding a Confederate memorial.