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Rush Limbaugh’s history of offensive comments highlighted after he receives Medal of Freedom from Trump

Limbaugh's history is long and offensive.


Claire Goforth

Layer 8

Posted on Feb 4, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 4:16 pm CDT

At tonight’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump awarded conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Limbaugh’s bombastic style is credited with revitalizing, even creating, the right-wing talk radio juggernaut that fed into the rise of Fox News and other conservative news and conspiratorial outlets.

Earlier this week, Limbaugh revealed that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. The announcement prompted waves of sympathy for Limbaugh.

Tonight, Trump surprised Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in an unprecedented move during the State of the Union address.

The Medal of Freedom was re-established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Previous recipients include Muhammad Ali, Angela Merkel, Nancy Reagan, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Although most have kept the negativity to a minimum out of consideration for Limbaugh’s condition, Trump placing the shock jock among this roster of honorees prompted a wave of criticisms. Limbaugh infamously said hungry children should “dumpster dive,” called them “wanton little waifs and serfs dependent on the state,” and called a Georgetown University Law Center student who advocated for contraceptive coverage a “slut” and “prostitute.”

To many, the move cheapened the honor.

“Who gets a Medal of [Freedom] next? David Fucking Duke? This is total bullshit,” tweeted one critic. Another said it was “unbelievable” that the man “who once joked about slaves being thrown overboard to feed sharks” would receive the medal bestowed on some of the most celebrated figures in American life, such as Aretha Franklin, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and journalist William F. Buckley Jr.

Comedian John Fugelsang pointed out that Limbaugh called then-13-year-old Chelsea Clinton a “dog” on live television in 1993.

David Corn of Mother Jones and MSNBC noted, “[Trump] just gave the nation’s highest civilian award to a man who has a long and demonstrable record of misogynistic and racist comments.”

Others agreed.

Limbaugh now joins Elvis Presley and Tiger Woods as people who have received the Medal of Freedom from Trump.


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*First Published: Feb 4, 2020, 10:16 pm CST