Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered that flags in the state be flown at half-mast in honor of Rush Limbaugh, who was best known for his decades-long and hate-filled radio career.
“When there’s things of this magnitude, once the date of interment for Rush is announced, we’re going to be lowering the flags to half staff,” DeSantis said at a press conference.
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This past Wednesday, Limbaugh passed away at age 70 due to lung cancer. While the left remembered his years of fomenting hatred in America, many on the right said that that he was a good person because of that hatred.
CNN noted that Florida’s flag protocol only allows for the flag to be lowered to half-mast “in the event of the death of a present or former official of the Florida State government or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from Florida who dies while serving on active duty.”
But Gov. DeSantis said Limbaugh “was an absolute legend, he was a friend of mine and just a great person.”
Democrats called out DeSantis. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said that the governor’s decision was “an embarrassment to Florida.”
“Rush Limbaugh weaponized his platform to spread racism, xenophobia and homophobia across the nation,” she tweeted. “His constant hateful rhetoric caused untold damage to our political landscape.”
Rush Limbaugh weaponized his platform to spread racism, xenophobia and homophobia across the nation. His constant hateful rhetoric caused untold damage to our political landscape. DeSantis' decision to honor him is an embarrassment to Florida.https://t.co/MkzU46Krzj
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) February 19, 2021
The leader of the Florida Senate Democratic caucus Gary Farmer condemned the decision as well, calling it “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.”
“I condemn the governor’s decision in no uncertain terms. 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groups, people of color, women, and anyone who did not look like him or think like him is wrong, and should be rescinded,” Farmer said in a statement.
Limbaugh’s “AIDS Update” segment that was a regular feature on his show in 1989 and 1990 celebrated the deaths of gay and bi men from AIDS. The segments have been getting a lot of attention this week since he passed away.
He stopped doing those segments, but it would definitely not be the last time he attacked LGBTQ people on his show.
In 1989, he said that the best way to stop HIV was “do not ask another man to bend over and make love at the exit point. That’s what you don’t do.”
He spent the 90’s talking about AIDS and advocating less funding to fight the epidemic.
Limbaugh referred to the disease as “the only federally-protected virus.” He denounced spending money on “education, and condoms, and cucumbers and all that” because there was no “evidence that [HIV] was spreading to the heterosexual community, not sexually anyway.”
By the 2000s, marriage equality became the target of his disdain.
“They seek to impose their perverted views, their depraved views on family and marriage,” he said, talking about marriage equality activists in 2010. “Marriage is a union of a man and a woman… This is about destroying an institution.”
He claimed in 2014, before marriage equality was even a reality in all of the U.S., that straight people were the real marginalized group: “They’re under assault. You say, ‘Heterosexuality may be 95, 98 percent of the population.’ They’re under assault by the two to five percent that are homosexual.”
He also said that there was a “movement on to normalize pedophilia” that was related to the movement for marriage equality.
Last year, Limbaugh was obsessed with the fact that then-candidate Pete Buttigieg kissed his husband Chasten Buttigieg in public, even asking how parents could explain it “to their children.”