He’s been called “the most dangerous man in America.” Now he has America’s highest civilian honor.
At his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh — with first lady Melania Trump giving Limbaugh the medal right there, on the spot. The president told Limbaugh the medal recognized his “decades of tireless devotion to our country” and “the millions of people a day that you speak to and inspire.”
This came just a day after Limbaugh, 69, announced that he has advanced lung cancer.
Mr. Trump’s decision drew fierce blowback from critics who pointed to Limbaugh’s decades of bigoted rhetoric and spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation on his show. Limbaugh now shares an honor awarded to Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Pope John Paul II — plus military heroes, philanthropists and former U.S. presidents.
It’s safe to assume Limbaugh is the only Medal of Freedom recipient who publicly compared black athletes to thugs, mocked a celebrity for having Parkinson’s disease and suggested that smoking and an impending hurricane weren’t really that dangerous.
Here is just a sampling of some of Limbaugh’s most controversial comments in a career culminating with the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
“The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.” (Source)
“I think it’s time to get rid of this whole National Basketball Association. Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association, and stop calling them teams. Call ’em gangs.” (Source)
“Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?” (Source)
On Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb: “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.” [Limbaugh resigned from ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show after uproar over these comments.]