President Donald Trump surprised Rush Limbaugh by calling in to congratulate the prolific talk show host on his 30th anniversary on the airwaves.
“You’re a very special man, Rush, and you have people that love you. I’m one of them,” Trump said to Limbaugh who appeared completely caught off guard by the call-in. “What you do for this country, people have no idea how important your voice is.”
“Well, I — I thank you so much,” replied Limbaugh, who launched his nationally syndicated talk show on August 1, 1988. “It’s such a thrill to hear from you.”
Trump later highlighted how difficult it was to remain at the top of the conservative talk mountain for so long.
“You know, people don’t realize what a great achievement 30 years is in that cutthroat business that you happen to be in,” the president said. “You know, you might not find that ’cause you’re so good at what you do.”
“But that is a cutthroat business, and for you to do this for 30 years is truly an amazing accomplishment, and there’s no voice like it. Even your friend Hannity agrees with that. He said, ‘There’s nobody like this man.'”
During the approximately 15 minute back-and-forth, Limbaugh thanked Trump for holding true to the promises he made in 2016 as a candidate.
“And you are consistent,” said the National Radio Hall of Fame recipient. “Things you said during the campaign are things you still say today. You haven’t given anybody reason to doubt you. You haven’t betrayed anybody or made them think that you’re going to.”
Trump responded by noting one high profile promise of repealing Obamacare that he was not able to fully accomplish came just one vote short thanks to Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, though he did not identify him by name.
“We had Obamacare repealed and replaced, and a man — I won’t mention his name,” said the president. “But a man at 2 o’clock in the morning went thumbs down, and he campaigned for years on repeal and replace.
“We had the chance. Nobody even spoke to him about it, because it was something that was unthinkable what he did … And, frankly, it cost $1 trillion because we would have saved $1 trillion, on top of which we would have had good health care.”
The chief executive pointed out regardless of that vote, the GOP was at least able to end the individual mandate, which is the most onerous part of the program.
The other big-ticket agenda item Trump has not been able to push through Congress is getting significant funding for a border wall with Mexico.
He emphasized his willingness to shut down the government, even before the midterm elections if necessary, to get the funding.
“I happen to think it’s a great political thing, because people want border security,” he said. “It’s not just the wall, Rush, as you know. It’s border security. It’s getting rid of catch-and-release, where you catch somebody, he can be a criminal of the highest order, and you have to release him!”
Limbaugh responded, “I think immigration is the largest reason you got elected, your consistency on that.
“I mean, it reverberates all across the country … It’d be silly for you to abandon this issue now, going into the midterms.”
The president wrapped up his call-in encouraging Limbaugh to say on the airwaves another 30 years.
The radio talker answered, “I will do that. Just that. I will stay around as long as you do.”
Trump shot back: “OK. You have a deal.”
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