The far-right radio host died Wednesday.
Republican politicians hurried to pay tribute to Rush Limbaugh, calling him a "hero" and an "inspiration" to the conservative movement. The longtime right-wing talk show host died Wednesday of lung cancer.
Over his lengthy career as a radio and television personality, Limbaugh frequently came under fire for racist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist attacks on women, people of color, LGBTQ communities, celebrities, politicians, and even children. His often hateful comments fueled advertiser boycotts and forced his resignation from a sports commentary job.
In 1992, he mocked then-12-year-old Chelsea Clinton, comparing her to dog.
In 2006, he falsely claimed Michael J. Fox exploited his Parkinson's disease, suggesting his tremors were "an act."
Limbaugh played and sang along with a song on his radio program in 2007, mocking then-Sen. Barack Obama as "Barack, the Magic Negro." Four years later, he defiantly said he was "not going to apologize" for the song and would "freaking play it again today."
He belittled the genocide against Native Americans, saying in 2009: "Holocaust? Ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos — what's to complain about?"
In 2010, Limbaugh used "bankers" as his "code word for Jewish."
He complained in 2011 that a speech by Chinese leader Hu Jintao was not translated, mockingly quoting him as saying, "Ching cha. Ching chang cho chow. Cha Chow. Ching Cho. Chi ba ba ba. Kwo kwa kwa kee. Cha ga ga. Ching chee chay. Ching zha bo ba. Chang cha. Chang cho chi che. Cha dee. Ooooh chee bada ba. Jee jee cho ba."
In 2012, he called Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke "a slut" for testifying before Congress in support of access to reproductive health care and contraception.
In February 2020, days after receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump, Limbaugh made homophobic attacks on then-Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, suggesting it was inappropriate for the openly gay mayor to kiss his husband in public.
Despite this record, an array of GOP officials lionized Limbaugh after learning of his death:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: "Rush Limbaugh was a generational media trailblazer. He gave a voice to millions of conservative Americans whom the mainstream media had not even tried to represent. His impact is impossible to overstate. "
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton: "Rush Limbaugh was a giant. With his straightforward, simple articulation of conservatism, he inspired millions. He was one-of-a-kind and he will be missed."
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley: "Sad abt Rush Limbaugh’s death he was a gr8 American patriot who really helped the conservative cause & will hv a decades long impact on the movement I kno listeners will miss him gr8ly."
Florida Sen. Rick Scott: "Rest In Peace, Rush Limbaugh. His legacy as a monumental figure in radio, iconic voice for conservatives and devoted advocate for the First Amendment will live on.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: "Rush Limbaugh revolutionized American radio. His voice guided the conservative movement for millions every day."
Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington: "Sad to hear about the passing of Rush Limbaugh, an American icon in the conservative movement. With his passing, in an era of conservative censorship & cancel culture, it's more important than ever we have strong and fearless voices for America's fundamental freedoms and values."
Virginia Rep. Ben Cline: "Rush Limbaugh was an American patriot and a conservative champion."
South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan: "We have lost the greatest giant of conservative talk radio today, the incredible Rush Limbaugh. Most Republicans wouldn’t be who we are today or where we are today without Rush’s influence."
Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer: "Rush Limbaugh brought conservative politics into American households. He was a lifelong broadcaster, a pioneer of talk radio, and a trusted voice in media for millions of Americans."
North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx: "Rush Limbaugh was a true titan, and a strong conservative voice in America. He truly inspired millions of people around the country. Every time he came on the air, I was always there to listen. May his work, and his voice, live on forever."
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz: "Rush was a giant. We will miss his clarity on the airwaves and the kindness he brought to those around him."
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar: "Rush Limbaugh was a legend in the conservative movement and an American hero. He will be deeply missed."
Texas Rep. Lance Gooden: "God bless Rush Limbaugh and his family. He has been one of the strongest conservative voices for decades. He has inspired so many Americans, including myself."
Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler: "America truly lost an icon today. A native Missourian, Rush Limbaugh ushered in a new era of conservatism, championing freedom and the American Dream to millions of listeners over his accomplished radio career."
Georgia Rep. Jody Hice: "I'm devastated to hear that Rush Limbaugh had passed away from Stage 4 lung cancer. He gave a voice to millions of Americans ignored & sidelined by the mainstream outlets."
Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson: "Rush is simply irreplaceable, and this loss to our country and the conservative cause cannot be overstated."
South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace: "Rush Limbaugh paved the way for countless conservative voices who otherwise may never have been heard, while working tirelessly to help others in their fight against cancer. We lost an absolute titan today."
Michigan Rep. Lisa McClain: "Rush Limbaugh was an icon in conservative radio and will be greatly missed."
Missouri Rep. Jason Smith: "Rush Limbaugh was not just a radio personality. He was a hero that created a movement and gave conservatives a voice that inspired millions of people around the country. He and his family will forever be in my heart."
Florida Rep. Mike Waltz: "Rush Limbaugh gave life to talk radio in America and was often a voice for the voiceless. He was an instrumental conservative and pioneer."
Donald Trump even phoned into Fox News to offer his own memorial.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.