Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was one of a number of Democrat officials in the state of Florida who said they would defy Governor DeSantis’ order to fly flags at half-mast for conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh after he passed away.
On Monday, Fried brazenly stated she would direct offices under her control to disregard the order from DeSantis.
“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 stated.
“Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them,” she continued. “Our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.”
(Video Credit: WFLA News Channel 8)
DeSantis announced on Friday that he will order flags to be flown at half-mast in Florida when Limbaugh is laid to rest. Limbaugh was a long-time resident of Florida. He lost his battle with lung cancer last Wednesday.
“There’s not much that needs to be said, the guy was an absolute legend,” DeSantis emotionally stated. “He was a friend of mine and just a great person.” DeSantis also said, “Rush is the GOAT (greatest of all time) — of radio, of conservative media, and of inspiring a loyal army of American patriots.”
Fried is a critic of DeSantis and was no fan of Limbaugh’s. She was incensed that DeSantis would honor the passing of Limbaugh but allegedly not civil rights activist John Lewis who died last July.
.@GovRonDeSantis is lowering Florida's flags to half-staff for Rush Limbaugh.
But he had no words for Congressman John Lewis.
— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) February 19, 2021
Her office is in charge of a number of state facilities. Those include 23 agricultural law enforcement inspection stations, nine regional licensing offices, and 38 state forests. It should also be noted that it is rumored she is coveting the governorship herself and is considering a run in 2022.
“I will not lower the flags at my Department’s state offices for Rush Limbaugh. Lowering our flag should reflect unity, not division — and raising our standards, not lowering them,” Fried tweeted.
The Democrat doubled down on her stand in a CNN interview Tuesday.
The American Flag isn’t a partisan prop, @GovRonDeSantis. It should unite, not divide.
Glad local leaders are joining us in refusing to lower our flag, and standards, for Rush Limbaugh.
— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) February 23, 2021
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman also announced his city will disregard DeSantis’ order. He consulted with attorneys before defying the governor.
Not lowering flags for Rush. In St. Pete we don’t honor hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, or anything else he has spewed over the years. We are, however, honoring the life of Deputy Michael Magli of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) February 22, 2021
Oakland Park Mayor Jane Bolin also released a statement on Sunday calling on Florida’s cities to defy DeSantis’ order.
“By compelling Florida cities to honor the man who made a career of sowing political division through bigoted and racist statements, Gov. DeSantis is turning our flag into a decoration for his own political theater,” Bolin snarled.
“I call on all mayors, commissioners, and city managers in Florida and nationwide to step forward and make their voices heard. Failure to take a stand on this issue is tantamount to being complicit in politicizing — and even demeaning the dignity of our flag.”
State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-FL) decried Fried’s refusal to comply with the directive and called it a “gross abuse of power.” He stated that the legislature “should immediately convene in an emergency session and pass a law creating a uniform Flag policy.”
The reaction against Fried’s politicized move was intense on social media with many claiming that lowering the flags violated flag protocol. Democrats loved Fried’s aggressive refusal to honor the conservative icon and were vociferous about it, but conservatives equally hated it.
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