MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans pushed a resolution honoring the late conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, brushing aside Democrats’ complaints that Limbaugh was a homophobe and a racist.
Republicans introduced the resolution at the end of a floor session Tuesday. The resolution called Limbaugh’s voice “unforgettable” and praised him for galvanizing support for conservative policies.
The resolution drove Democrats into a outrage. Their anger grew after Republicans rejected their attempt to introduce a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month. That resolution recognized a host of Black men who have died at the hands of Wisconsin police in recent years.
Minority Leader Janet Bewley accused Republicans of introducing the Limbaugh resolution simply to “tick” her party off. Sen. Tim Carpenter called him a “false god.” Sen. LaTonya Johnson, who is Black, read off quotes from Limbaugh in which he disparaged former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. She called Limbaugh a homophobe, a xenophobe and a racist.
“You own this. You own his rhetoric. You own his sentiment,” Johnson told Republicans.
The resolution’s author, Republican Sen. Andre Jacque, accused Democrats of disparaging the dead. He said many celebrities make controversial statements and some of Limbaugh’s remarks were “misconstrued.” He read off more Limbaugh quotes in which he said conservatives don’t see Americans as groups or victims but as human beings with potential.
“Rest in peace, Rush,” Jacque said.
Republican Sen. Dale Kooyenga declared he was done voting for any resolutions about anything because they’re become “sticks” both parties use to “poke people in the eye.”
“I’m just disgusted with this body,” Kooyenga said. “Your cultural wars will not be solved in this chamber with your resolutions. Where’s the policy?”
The Senate ultimately approved the resolution on an 18-12 vote. No Democrats voted for the resolution. Kooyenga and Republican Sen. Eric Wimberger did cast votes.
The Assembly was scheduled to vote on it Wednesday. That house also has refused to take up a resolution recognizing Black History Month. Assembly Republicans refused to take up a resolution honoring Black History Month last year as well.
Speaker Robin Vos told reporters Tuesday some GOP lawmakers objected to some of the people honored in the resolution. It’s usually easier to bring forward resolutions honoring one person, like Limbaugh, he said.
Vos asked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to lower U.S. and Wisconsin flags in the state to half-staff to honor Limbaugh. Evers ignored the request.
Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.