Former President Donald Trump joined “Hannity” on Wednesday to remember conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who passed away at age 70 after a long battle with lung cancer.
Trump reflected on his decision to award Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union Address in February 2020, just days after the conservative icon announced his Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis.
“It was an idea that we had that a lot of people suggested to me, frankly, a lot of great people of our country, largely Republican,” Trump told host Sean Hannity. “It was an amazing night because the Republicans went wild and the Democrats sat there, but they all respected Rush.”
First lady Melania Trump presented America’s highest civilian honor to Limbaugh in the House gallery, an emotional moment that marked what Trump called one of Limbaugh’s “great honors of his life.”
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“Presidential Medal of Freedom — It’s a big deal, and he was very honored by it,” Trump said.
The former president met Limbaugh after announcing his 2016 bid for the Republican nomination. According to Trump, the two connected instantly, bonding over their love of golf and mutual commitment to conservative values.
“I got to know him right after coming down the escalator [to announce my candidacy in July 2015]. He was there right from the beginning,” Trump said, revealing that he would regularly check in with Limbaugh on the state of his health.
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“Rush was so great, and it was something very special to know him. A very terrific man.”
Trump hailed Limbaugh as “just a totally brilliant guy” who managed to do what “a lot of people couldn’t.”
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“He could just talk for three hours, no phone calls, no anything, just talk and everybody found it spellbinding,” Trump recollected, calling their short friendship “an honor.”
The conservative icon and author revolutionized the radio industry with the nationally syndicated “The Rush Limbaugh Show” beginning in 1988, and is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures in broadcast and political history.