Analysis: Trump Honored A Man Last Night Who Spent His Life Spreading Hate
President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday night during his State of the Union address — bestowed upon the conservative talk-radio host on the spot by First Lady Melania Trump as the nation watched.
Limbaugh’s invitation to the address and receipt of the medal came on the heels of his lung cancer diagnosis, which he shared publicly earlier in the week.
But Trump’s decision to confer the prestigious and highest civilian honor on Limbaugh — an award the White House website explains is saved for “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors — took many by surprise, given Limbaugh’s history of trafficking in hate speech.
Media Matters noted that the occasion was made all the more ironic by having Melania, whose pet cause is cyberbullying, was the one to place the ribbon and medal around Limbaugh’s neck.
Bullying and bigotry are hallmarks of Limbaugh’s public discourse, the publication noted, going back decades and continuing into the present.
As far back as the late 1980s, the conservative talk show host was stoking homophobia, racism, sexism and xenophobia.
During his “Rush to Excellence Tour” from 1989 to 1991, Limbaugh “joked about AIDS and suicide, among other subjects, and declared that ‘feminism was established so that unattractive ugly broads could have easy access to the mainstream.’”
In the 1990s, he also began referring to feminists as “feminazis” and tried to make popular the term “new castrati”, which he described as “men with no guts who have just been bullied by women and the power structure and liberalism in general.”
Limbaugh also spewed racist garbage, saying at one point: “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.” At another time, he said of Native Americans, “‘Holocaust?’ Ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos — what's to complain about?”
He “also referred to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as a “Hafrican American,” and played a mocking song called “Barack the Magic Negro” and was part of the birther movement that claimed Obama was not a true American.
Limbaugh has mocked the disabled on numerous occasions, Media Matters noted, and, coming back to his rampant sexism, said of Trump’s comments on the infamous Access Hollywood tape: “If the left ever senses and smells that there's no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police.”
This is but a glimpse of the man chosen by Trump to receive the country’s highest civilian award — yet while it might shock the conscience, it is hardly surprising, considering the man who now occupies the Oval Office.