A number of liberal commentators responded to Rush Limbaugh’s announcement that he has advanced lung cancer by calling him a bigot and wishing for his death or worse.
Limbaugh, 69, a legendary conservative talk radio host, told listeners of “The Rush Limbaugh Show” on Monday that he has “advanced lung cancer” and would likely miss some tapings while he undergoes treatment.
“I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, Jan. 12,” Limbaugh said. “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 because I don’t like making things about me.”
“There are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment and I know that inspires all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what’s going on,” he continued. “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 going to leak.”
Conservatives on Twitter reacted to Limbaugh’s revelation with an outpouring of support.
President Donald Trump called Limbaugh a “great & fantastic political talent.”
“There is nobody like him,” he said. “Looking for a speedy recovery for our friend!”
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! https://t.co/GRTt56BjEu
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence called Limbaugh a “National Treasure.”
Rush Limbaugh is a National Treasure who has made a difference on the airwaves of America for 30 years. Rush, Karen and I will be joining millions across this Country in praying for your swift recovery. God Bless You!
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) February 3, 2020
Limbaugh’s fellow Fox News host Mark Levin said on his radio show Monday that Limbaugh is “a fighter” and “if anyone can pull through it it’s him.”
“This man deserves all of our support and all of our prayers. He has made a huge difference in our lives and in the country,” Levin said. “He is responsible for the resurgence of talk radio, and he’s responsible for nationally syndicated talk radio being successful. The things he says are so smart and so brilliantly stated that so many people with advanced degrees, with thick books, were very either smitten by him or jealous of him.”
Levin went on: “He really breathed a lot of life into conservatism after [former Republican President Ronald] Reagan. He certainly did and has. Because the Republican Party lost its way and he pointed it out. He pointed it out. He was a big supporter of Reagan, big supporter of the Tea Party movement, big supporter of President Trump. Always way ahead of the curve. And a great sense of humor — hilarious.”
The other reactions to Rush Limbaugh saying he has lung cancer
The hateful reaction on the left, meanwhile, came from a variety of prominent activists, journalists and academics.
New Yorker magazine contributor Maura Quint was among those who took the opportunity to condemn Limbaugh. She recalled how she convinced her father to stop listening to Limbaugh’s show because “he’s a reactionary bigot who lies to sow hate.”
My dad's a republican who used to listen to Rush Limbaugh. When I'd be home, I'd ask him about it, what Rush was saying. And why. After a few years, my dad said, I started listening closer and you're right, he's a reactionary bigot who lies to sow hate. He never listened again.
— maura quint (@behindyourback) February 4, 2020
Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, a Church of God in Christ pastor and NAACP chapter president in Springfield, Massachusetts, said, “I take no pleasure in anyone’s sickness, but, Rush Limbaugh is a vile, hateful, white supremacist, who has spread racist vitriol on the airwaves of America for 30 years.”
I take no pleasure in anyone’s sickness, but, Rush Limbaugh is a vile, hateful, white supremacist, who has spread racist vitriol on the airwaves of America for 30 years.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) February 4, 2020
Others, however, did seem to take pleasure in Limbaugh’s sickness.
Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American religious studies professor, suggested that his followers ask themselves if the world would be better off without Limbaugh.
Ask yourself this simple question: is the world a better place or a worse place with Rush Limbaugh in it?
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) February 3, 2020
Former Buzzfeed illustrator Adam Ellis said Limbaugh “spent his life spreading racism, homophobia, and hate.” Ellis criticized the radio host for opposing Democratic plans for universal healthcare and predicted he would have “plenty of time to ponder over” his privilege “in hell.”
Rush Limbaugh has spent his life spreading racism, homophobia, and hate. And he doesn't think poor people deserve healthcare. I hope he thinks about that while he's getting expensive treatment. But he won't. Oh well. He'll have plenty of time to ponder over it in hell. https://t.co/YBabSFjYJg
— adam ellis (@moby_dickhead) February 4, 2020
Some Twitter users explicitly hoped that Limbaugh would die, with one sports writer suggesting he be given a state funeral “so that every willing American can have a chance to pay their respects by kicking his corpse as hard as they can.”
Rush Limbaugh is, without a doubt, one of the most hateful, awful people of the last half century, and one who had one of the most negative impacts possible on this country. It’s only fitting that this cancer upon the world should be stricken by it.
— Jon Tayler, Smiling Politely (@JATayler) February 3, 2020
When a Democrat gets sick, almost all Republicans wish them well.
But when Republicans get sick, many many many on the Left wish death upon them.
The tweets I see about Rush Limbaugh is disgusting, so many Leftists wishing death.
Politics make people lose their humanity
— Joey Saladino (@JoeySalads) February 4, 2020
The Reagan Battalion Twitter account highlighted Aslan’s tweet, saying: “You don’t have to like Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Sanders, or any other political figure in this country on either side, but never ever turn into this person.”
You don’t have to like Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Sanders, or any other political figure in this country on either side, but never ever turn into this person. https://t.co/urIRuaIlr7
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 4, 2020
One America News host Liz Wheeler suggested “Leftists” scorn for Limbaugh was related to their support for abortion rights.
“It should surprise nobody that Leftists wishing death on Rush Limbaugh because he’s inconvenient to their politics also champion the death of unborn babies up to the moment of birth for any reason.” she said. “When you dehumanize human life in any form, you become a ghoul.”
It should surprise nobody that Leftists wishing death on Rush Limbaugh because he’s inconvenient to their politics also champion the death of unborn babies up to the moment of birth for any reason.
When you dehumanize human life in any form, you become a ghoul.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) February 4, 2020
“The mayor of Realville”
Limbaugh has hosted his nationally syndicated radio show since 1988, beginning in New York before moving to West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1996. In 2018, Forbes magazine reported Limbaugh had the largest radio show audience in the country with 25 million monthly listeners on 650 AM and FM stations.
He was the second highest-paid radio show host according to Forbes, making $84.5 million behind satellite radio shock-jock Howard Stern’s $90 million.
“It is what it is, and 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,” Limbaugh said Monday.
“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 tremendously. I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.”
Limbaugh has been a hero to conservatives since he began his show, and was named in 1995 an honorary member of the 104th Republican Caucus, whose members credited him with a large part of their success. It was the first time the Republicans had won both houses of Congress in 40 years.
This is not the first health issue Limbaugh has experienced in his 31 years of his national radio show.
In 2001, Limbaugh told his audience that he had become almost completely deaf, although he continued to do his show after surgery to have a cochlear implant.
In 2003, he announced he was addicted to prescription medication linked to back pain and surgery.