In his first public remarks since leaving office last month, former President Donald Trump spoke to Fox News about the life and legacy of conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Trump, who bestowed upon Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom last February, told hosts Bill Hemmer and Harris Faulkner that the radio legend understood politics like no one else.
“There aren’t too many legends around, but he is a legend,” said Trump. “He had tremendous insight. He got it, he really got it.”
Trump said that giving the Medal of Freedom to Limbaugh during the 2020 State of the Union Address was a privilege, and he told the hosts that Limbaugh described it as “the greatest honor of his life.”
“Rush was very sick at the time. He was at a hospital in Boston … It was a very difficult thing for him to come into Washington from where he was, and he did it,” Trump said.
While the decision to award Limbaugh was met with predictable scorn by the left, the former president said that he didn’t detect any of that scorn in Congress that night.
“A hundred percent of that room respected Rush,” Trump said.
Trump said that Limbaugh was hoping to keep his radio show through the 2020 election.
“His ambition was to hold out until after the election,” Trump said. “And he worked so hard and he missed very few shows … he worked so hard to get through the election, and he was just great. He made it. He loved this country so much. He loved the people of this country so much.”
In a second interview with Newsmax TV later that day, Trump said, “We lost a great one today. Rush was just a unique character, and a great friend to all of us. So, we lost a really great gentleman today.”
Asked if he would consider taking over the golden EIB microphone, Trump dismissed the idea.
“A lot of people are mentioning that, and no it’s not something I’ve thought about,” Trump said. “He’d be a hard one to replace. You wouldn’t want to follow Rush. It’s the old story, you get somebody like that, you don’t want to follow them, because some things just can’t be done. He was unique.”