Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh joined the likes of Rosa Parks and Mr. Rogers on Tuesday, when U.S. President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom to the man who once called Barack Obama a “magic negro.”
Trump hailed Limbaugh as “someone beloved by millions of Americans” during his State of the Union address, before first lady Melania Trump presented the radio host with America’s highest civilian honour in the middle of the speech.
Twitter users were quick to point out the long record of hateful, bigoted, racist and conspiracy theory-laden remarks Limbaugh has peddled on his radio show over the years. They also did not forget that Limbaugh has called for President Trump’s political enemies to be locked up for investigating his conduct.
“Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom last night to a propagandist,” user @ThePubliusUSA tweeted after the State of the Union. “A man who has peddled bigotry, misogyny, racism and hate for decades. It is utterly disgraceful.”
Limbaugh, 69, is widely credited as key to the Republicans’ takeover of Congress in 1994. He has strongly supported many Republicans, including Trump, who often quotes him straight from his Fox News appearances. Trump appears to be particularly fond of Limbaugh’s attacks on his enemies.
“These guys, the investigators, ought to be in jail,” Trump quoted Limbaugh as saying last February, in the midst of the Mueller Investigation.
Limbaugh has frequently been accused of using his radio show, Democracy Now!, to spread hate-speech and false conspiracy theories, including one of Trump’s favourites: the false “birther” claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Limbaugh also infamously played a parody song on his show in 2007, called Barack the Magic Negro. The lyrics in the song claim that Obama “makes guilty whites feel good,” and refer to the then-presidential candidate as “Black, but not authentically.”
The radio host has mock-quoted China’s former president as saying “Ching cha, ching chang cho chow.” He has referred to the NBA as the “Thug Basketball Association” and its teams as “gangs.” He suggested Chelsea Clinton was a dog when she was 12. He also mocked Canadian actor Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.