Rush Limbaugh, right-wing radio host, was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians Monday. A bronze bust of the native of Cape Girardeau, Mo., now being held in the basement of the Missouri state Capitol building, may be placed in the state Capitol.
The Huffington Post reports that other Missourians who have been so honored in the past include Mark Twain, Harry Truman and Scott Joplin.
KPLR.com reports that the Hall of Famous Missourians is located on the third floor of the Missouri Capitol and houses bronze busts of famous Missourians like President Harry Truman, Mark Twain, and Walter Cronkite.
The Huffington Post reports that the date and time of the ceremony was kept secret until just before it began, to avoid protests. According to KPLR.com, the press release about the induction ceremony on Monday was released only 26 minutes before the start of the ceremony, allowing major news outlets very little time to arrange to cover it. According to St Louis Post-Dispatch, the ceremony was mostly by invitation and was not open to the general public. Police officers guarded the entries to the House chamber.
State House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville), who selected Limbaugh for the honor, faced criticism when the news first broke in March. AP reports that protesters wheeled 600 rolls of toilet paper into the middle of Tilley's Capitol office calling on him to "Flush Rush!" Protesters also submitted about 35,000 petition signatures protesting Limbaugh's induction.
Limbaugh was the target of widespread public criticism after he called Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke a "slut."
According St.Louis Post-Dispatch, Tilley said Limbaugh deserves inclusion in the hall of famous Missourians because he is a notable entertainer with a radio show that reaches more than 15 million listeners each week. Tilley said: "He may say things that strike a nerve. That doesn’t undo everything he has accomplished in his career." St.. Loius Dispatcher reports House Speaker Tilley praised Limbaugh as the "voice of conservative America for more than a decade."
AP reports Limbaugh addressed a crowd of more than 100 Republicans in the "closed-door event." He said at the secret ceremony: "I'm stunned. I'm not speechless, but close to it. I'm literally quite unable to comprehend what's happening to me today.This is something I never, ever considered would happen to me." He thanked his family for supporting him throughout and launched an attack on liberals and Democrats describing them as "deranged." According to AP, he said: "They're deranged. They're literally deranged."
According to KPLR.com, Missouri House democrats have submitted a proposal to amend rules for admission to the Hall of Famous Missourians. They have proposed that persons to be admitted must get a vote from at least three of the following officials: the House Speaker, Senate President pro tempore, the House Minority leader or the Senate minority leader.
House Minority Leader Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City), in a statement released on Monday, criticized the induction of Limbaugh. He said: “House Speaker Steve Tilley today purported to induct misogynistic talk show host Rush Limbaugh III into the Hall of Famous Missourians. Instead of being open to the public as is tradition, the ceremony was conducted in secret in a locked House chamber with only Republican officials and other select people allowed in. The secrecy and exclusion of the public demonstrates that even Republicans are embarrassed at honoring someone who recently called a female college student with whom he disagreed a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute.’”
AP reports that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration released a memo Monday that said that only the state board has the authority to determine items displayed in the third floor Capitol Rotunda where the busts are housed.