Emotional Rush Limbaugh receives the Medal of Freedom from Trump during State of the Union address

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh struggled to hold back tears as he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, during the State of the Union address on Tuesday. 

Limbaugh was presented with the medal by First Lady Melania Trump during President Trump’s address, shocked and emotional by the sudden announcement.   

The radio host, 69, had arrived in a wheelchair having received an invite from President Trump after the host announced on his radio show on Monday that he has ‘advanced lung cancer’ and would be stepping away from his presenting duties for treatment. 

He is the 15th civilian to receive the award from President Trump.  

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During his address, President Trump announced that Limbaugh was immediately receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is considered one of the nation’s highest civilian honors.

Trump called on Melania Trump to present the medal to Limbaugh as he sat alongside her in the First Lady’s box. 

A shocked Limbaugh became emotional on realizing that the presentation was about to take place and stood to receive the medal despite having arrived to the chamber earlier in a wheelchair.   

The host said ‘I feel great, I feel good’ as he arrived to the address just a day after his announcement.

‘I’m still in awe,’ Limbaugh told Fox News reported Chad Pergram when questioned about the rumors, adding that ‘whatever he says is going to be fine, I’m sure’ of Trump’s speech.  

According to CNN, Trump told TV anchors at a private lunch on Tuesday that he would award the Medal of Freedom to Limbaugh, who has been a staunch ally of the president for years. 

Trump has awarded the Medal of Freedom to 14 recipients so far during his first three years in office. Recipients have included posthumous awards to Elvis Presley and former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, as well as golfer Tiger Woods and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach.  

President Donald Trump told a private lunch he will award conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh (pictured here with Trump) the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the coming months

President Donald Trump told a private lunch he will award conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh (pictured here with Trump) the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the coming months

President Donald Trump told a private lunch he will award conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh (pictured here with Trump) the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the coming months

Prominent radio host Rush Limbaugh, 69, announced on Monday he would be stepping away from his radio show for some days to receive treatment for 'advanced lung cancer'

Prominent radio host Rush Limbaugh, 69, announced on Monday he would be stepping away from his radio show for some days to receive treatment for 'advanced lung cancer'

Prominent radio host Rush Limbaugh, 69, announced on Monday he would be stepping away from his radio show for some days to receive treatment for ‘advanced lung cancer’

Speaking on his radio show on Monday, Limbaugh said he first noticed something was wrong after suffering from shortness of breath over his birthday weekend of January 12 and was diagnosed on January 20. 

He said he had thought about not telling anyone of the news.

But the staunch Republican added: ‘There are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here.’

Limbaugh is thought to have started smoking when he was 16 but quit after a ‘real bad case of bronchitis, almost like walking pneumonia’.

He has also spoken of his love of smoking cigars in the past, saying they are ‘just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life’.   

Donald Trump has described Rush Limbaugh as a 'great guy and fantastic political talent' as he wished the conservative radio host a speedy recovery following his shock cancer diagnosis

Donald Trump has described Rush Limbaugh as a 'great guy and fantastic political talent' as he wished the conservative radio host a speedy recovery following his shock cancer diagnosis

Donald Trump has described Rush Limbaugh as a ‘great guy and fantastic political talent’ as he wished the conservative radio host a speedy recovery following his shock cancer diagnosis 

Maureen Scalia, the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, accepts his Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump in 2018. Trump says he will also award the medal to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in the coming months

Maureen Scalia, the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, accepts his Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump in 2018. Trump says he will also award the medal to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in the coming months

Maureen Scalia, the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, accepts his Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump in 2018. Trump says he will also award the medal to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in the coming months

President Trump tweeted his well wishes for his friend on Monday.

He described Limbaugh as a ‘great guy and fantastic political talent’ as he wished the conservative radio host a speedy recovery following his shock cancer diagnosis.

‘Many people do not know what a great guy & fantastic political talent the great Rush Limbaugh is. There is nobody like him. Looking for a speedy recovery for our friend!’ Trump tweeted.    

 Limbaugh started his radio career in 1971 as a DJ on a Pennsylvania radio station. He has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions.

Trump announced the host had signed a new four year contract on his show at a rally in Miami last month, telling supporters: ‘We have great people. Rush just signed another four-year contract. He just wants four more years, OK?’   

Limbaugh said Monday: ‘This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming.

‘I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and don’t like making things about me.  

Rush Limbaugh announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer

Rush Limbaugh announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer

Rush Limbaugh announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer

How The Rush Limbaugh Show became the voice for conservative politics

Rush Limbaugh started his radio career in 1971 as a DJ on a Pennsylvania radio station. 

He started the trend of conservative talk radio in 1988, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. 

He started his first national radio show from New York, later relocating to Palm Beach, Florida. 

Since then his show made him a household name with an estimated 14 million listeners in 2015. 

The hyper-partisan broadcaster has dominated talk radio with a raucous, liberal-bashing style that made him one of the most influential voices of American right-wing politics and inspired other conservative broadcasters including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. 

‘It’s shocking to the industry, and it should be shocking to the political establishment,’ said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, the trade industry publication for talk radio. 

‘One thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me. It is a family type relationship to me.

‘So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me, because I had to inform my staff earlier today,’ Limbaugh said.

He added: ‘I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.’

‘But we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled. We’re at full-speed ahead on this, and it’s just now a matter of implementing what we are gonna be told later this week. So I’ll be back here. I hope I’ll be back Thursday. If not, it will be as soon as I can — and know that every day I’m not here, I’ll be thinking about you and missing you. Thank you very much.’ 

Following the news Megyn Kelly tweeted: ‘Just heard the news about Rush Limbaugh, a man who loves this country and his listeners dearly, and is a tireless warrior for things he holds dear. Wishing him strength and tenacity as he takes on this new battle w/advanced lung cancer. Do what you do so well, Rush – FIGHT.’

Liz Cheney added: ‘Prayers for @rushlimbaugh. No one has been a stronger or more effective warrior for the conservative cause and for the future of our country. No one has had a bigger impact. We’re in this fight with you, Rush.’ 

Limbaugh told listeners in 2013: ‘I started smoking when I was 16. I went to electronics school in Dallas at age 16. Anyway, I was the youngest in this school by four or five years and everybody smoked.

‘So I started smoking. I was 16. Let’s see, it was 1980, ’81, ’82, somewhere around there when I quit. 

‘One day I got a real bad case of bronchitis, almost like walking pneumonia, so I could not smoke a cigarette without coughing spasms.

‘So I said, “Well, I’m never gonna have a better time than now to quit when I can’t smoke.” So I quit then.’ 

His producer Bo Snerdley tweeted: ‘Those of you who are listening to the Rush Limbaugh show now. Pray with us. Thank you. God Bless you Rush Limbaugh. Love you so much Rush.’  

The president was seen enjoying lunch with Limbaugh three days before Christmas at Trump’s West Palm Beach golf club. The two also spent Good Friday together last year during a break in the Sunshine State.  

Conservative radio host Limbaugh has been one of the president’s most vocal supporters, claiming Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was ‘bogus from the beginning’. 

He called the probe into possible collusion with the Russians a ‘manufactured coup’. 

Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh at Mar-A-Lago in April 2019. Limbaugh has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions

Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh at Mar-A-Lago in April 2019. Limbaugh has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions

The radio host is pictured with his fourth wife Kathryn Rogers

The radio host is pictured with his fourth wife Kathryn Rogers

Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh at Mar-A-Lago in April 2019, left. Limbaugh has been spotted playing golf with the president on a number of occasions. The radio host is pictured with his fourth wife Kathryn Rogers, right

Kate Rogers and Rush Limbaugh attend the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida

Kate Rogers and Rush Limbaugh attend the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida

Kate Rogers and Rush Limbaugh attend the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on February 28, 2010 in Palm Beach, Florida

From left to right: Jack Nicklaus and Rush Limbaugh pictured with Rudy Guiliani and Marvin Shanken during at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida

From left to right: Jack Nicklaus and Rush Limbaugh pictured with Rudy Guiliani and Marvin Shanken during at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida

From left to right: Jack Nicklaus and Rush Limbaugh pictured with Rudy Guiliani and Marvin Shanken during at The PGA National Golf Club on March 21, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida

In 2015 he defended smokers, telling a listener: ‘There ought to be some measure of appreciation for people who buy tobacco products, despite the forces arrayed against them.

‘It’s getting harder and harder to use tobacco products, unless you want to call marijuana tobacco, and you can do that anywhere, for the most part. 

‘But the fact of the matter is they have to endure a lot, the public hates them, they’re despised, they can’t smoke in places of comfort anymore, can’t even smoke outside in a park! And yet their actions and their taxes and their purchases are funding children’s health care programs. 

‘I’m just saying there ought to be a little appreciation shown for them, instead of having them hated and reviled. I would like a medal for smoking cigars, is what I’m saying.’  

Limbaugh’s announcement come at a tumultuous political time, as the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial nears. 

The hyper-partisan broadcaster has dominated talk radio with a raucous, liberal-bashing style that made him one of the most influential voices of American right-wing politics and inspired other conservative broadcasters including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.

‘Rush you are in our prayers,’ Beck tweeted. ‘We live in a time of modern miracles. Millions are praying you find one.’  

The media figure’s endorsement and friendship is a conservative political treasure. His idol, Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter that Limbaugh read on the air in December 1992 and which sealed his reputation among conservatives: ‘You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism in our country,’ Reagan wrote.

Two years later, Limbaugh would be so widely credited as key to Republicans’ takeover of Congress for the first time in 40 years, he was deemed an honorary member of the new class.

Limbaugh has frequently been accused of hate-filled speech, including bigotry and blatant racism through his comments and sketches such as ‘Barack the Magic Negro,’ a song featured on his show that said Obama ‘makes guilty whites feel good’ and that the politician is ‘black, but not authentically.’  

Rush Limbaugh shares his cancer diagnosis with listeners, telling them: ‘We are a family’

The full transcript from Rush Limbaugh as he shares his cancer diagnosis with listeners on his show on Monday afternoon: 

‘Ladies and gentlemen, this… This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today. Now, I’m sure that you all know by now, I really don’t like talking about myself, and I don’t like making things about me other than in the usual satirical, parodic, joking way.

‘I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us. The one thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that has developed between all of you and me. Now, this program’s 31 years old, and in that 31 years, there are people — you hear them call all the time — who have been listening the whole time. They’ve been listening 30 years or 25 years.

‘I just had somebody say they’ve been here three years. But, whatever, it is a family-type relationship to me, and I’ve mentioned to you that this program and this job is what has provided me the greatest satisfaction and happiness that I’ve ever experienced, more than I ever thought that I would experience. So I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. 

‘It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t escape… Even though people are telling me it’s not the way to look at it, I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th. I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, January 12th.

‘I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, ’cause I don’t like making things about me. But there are going to be days that I’m not gonna be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what’s going on.

‘And the worst thing that can happen is when there is something going on and you try to hide it and cover it up. It’s eventually gonna leak, and then people are gonna say, ‘Why didn’t you just say it? Why’d you try to fool everybody? ‘ It’s not that I want to fool anybody. It’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it, and I haven’t wanted to. But it is what it is. You know me; I’m the mayor of Realville.

‘So this has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I’ve had so much support from family and friends during this that it’s just been tremendous. I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about.

‘But I do, and I have been working that relationship (chuckles) tremendously, which I do regularly anyway, but I’ve been focused on it intensely for the past couple of weeks. I know there are many of you in this audience who have experienced this, who are going through it yourselves at the same time. I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms other than… Look, I don’t want to get too detailed in this.

‘What led to shortness of breath that I thought might have been asthma or — you know, I’m 69 — it could have been my heart. My heart’s in great shape, ticking away fine, squeezing and pumping great. It was not that. It was a pulmonary problem involving malignancy. So I’m gonna be gone the next couple days as we figure out the treatment course of action and have further testing done. But as I said, I’m gonna be here as often as I can.

‘And as is the case with everybody who finds themselves in this circumstance, you just want to push ahead and try to keep everything as normal as you can, which is something that I’m going to try to do. But I felt that I had to tell you because that’s the kind of relationship I feel like I have with those of you in this audience. I say it every Christmas, which is what I feel more thankful than as Thanksgiving.

‘And I feel thankful at Thanksgiving, but Christmas it really gets to me. But over the years, a lot of people have been very nice telling me how much this program has meant to them. But whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me. And I can’t describe this. But I know you’re there every day. I can see you. It’s strange how, but I know you’re there. 

‘I know you’re there in great numbers, and I know that you understand everything I say. The rest of the world may not when they hear it expressed a different way, but I know that you do. You’ve been one of the greatest sources of confidence that I’ve had in my life. So I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days.

‘But we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled. We’re at full-speed ahead on this, and it’s just now a matter of implementing what we are gonna be told later this week. So I’ll be back here. I hope I’ll be back Thursday. If not, it will be as soon as I can — and know that every day I’m not here, I’ll be thinking about you and missing you. Thank you very much.’

 

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