RUSH: Here’s John in Vero Beach, Florida, right up the road here. Great to have you, John. What’s happening? What’s up? What’s going on?
CALLER: Rush, what an honor and privilege to be speaking with you, sir.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir. Great to have you on the program. What’s happening? What’s up?
CALLER: Yesterday, you know, my wife and I were talking about the news yesterday at the prayer meeting when Donald Trump — and I’m sure it was all tongue-in-cheek — made reference about The Apprentice ratings dropping and asked for prayer for Arnold Schwarzenegger. But, you know, as media savvy as President Trump is, I’m wondering since President Trump and Mark Burnett are friends if this might be just a way of saying, “Hey, Mark, here’s a little bit of a ratings boost for you.” And, you know, again it’s one of those things that President Trump is very savvy with the media. And I’d just like to get your thought on that, sir.
RUSH: Let me ask you a question. Are you a religious person — and, if so, did that comment at the prayer breakfast offend you as being, “This is not the time to start making jokes about people here. This is not the time to start throwing the word ‘hell’ around. This is not the time to start asking people to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Did it bother you or not?
CALLER: Sir, I tell you what. I’ve been in the Air Force for over 30 years. I’ve freshly retired, and my faith is as strong as ever. And there are times for levity, and I’m telling you what: President Trump, he can use it whenever he wants.
CALLER: It’s great.
RUSH: So it didn’t bother you. I’m down to five seconds. I’m down to five seconds, so I’m gonna have to answer your question when we come back — and I’ll remember it, ’cause I have a good memory.
RUSH: Okay. To answer the previous caller’s question, do I think that Trump at the prayer breakfast goosing Schwarzenegger was designed to get the ratings of The Apprentice up? Maybe. After all, the creator and Trump’s partner of the show, Mark Burnett, was there. Mark Burnett’s married to Roma Downey. Mark Burnett introduced him. Trump, I’m sure, does not want anything bad to happen to Burnett. I’m sure he loves ragging on Schwarzenegger, his replacement. I think Trump might… It could well have been an effort to promote. Now that…
Hey, I want to be honest with you about media performers’ egos. It’s totally understandable that Trump would be happy that his replacement doesn’t do as well as he does. Folks, that’s entirely normal. In this business, it’s perfectly normal. You’re always hoping that the people you compete against don’t do well. That’s where journalists are phony. They try to say, “We don’t care about our ratings. We’re interested in the news!” BS. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be moving from network to network and job to job.
And once it’s been demonstrated that The Apprentice lost some audience when Trump left, okay, mission accomplished, and then there’s an added bonus. If he can get the ratings back up by having a little phony feud with Schwarzenegger, then that’s even more to his positive. Now, whether that was going on, I don’t know. I have no idea. What I can tell you is it wasn’t an attempt to disrespect anything. It wasn’t an attempt to insult the prayer breakfast. It was just Trump being Trump. I’m convinced at its most innocent, it was a joke.
And it could well have been an effort to get people to watch the program, get them interested in the program. I don’t know. But it’s not the kind of thing to lose sleep over. It’s not the, “Oh, my God, it’s so horrible, something like this happening,” and, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe this happened at the prayer breakfast! Oh, no.” I mean, has it not been demonstrated…? Did not the evangelical movement vote en masse for Trump? You go back to the campaign. Remember everybody thought Ted Cruz had the evangelical Christian vote all tied up, owned them.
And yet Trump won practically all of them.
And the professional political consultants to this day can’t figure it out. And you know why they can’t figure it out? Because it is they who have a caricatured version of evangelical people. The Democrats, the left, political consultants think that evangelical people are Mennonites, they are the Amish, and they’re walking around and driving around in little black wagons being pulled by horses, and they live according to an 1800s code. I mean, their opinion of evangelicals… You would not believe what they really think of evangelicals.
Backwards. Behind the times. They spend every waking moment in prayer asking God for everything. The last thing… As far as the left is concerned, evangelicals are in no way, shape, manner, or form normal. They’re not natural. They are old-fashioned, and they’re stuffed shirts, and they’re mean-spirited, and they’re discriminatory and they’re bigots. They hate ’em. “They’re all pro-life. They all have shotguns in the back those little black wagons being pulled along by the horses! The Pennsylvania Amish and the Dutch and the Mennonites.” They don’t like ’em.
And here after the Access video, Trump wins a majority?
It doesn’t compute.
It doesn’t make sense.
And still to this day, when Trump goes to the prayer breakfast and says what he says… Remember when he didn’t say “Second Corinthians;” he said “Two Corinthians”? “Oh, my God, he’s just proving that he’s not religious! He doesn’t even understand it’s Second Corinthians!” Didn’t matter. And in fact, to this day there are exhaustive opinion pieces in political journals and academic treatises all over, as the left and these wizards of smart and all of these academics are going nuts trying to explain to themselves how these people could have supported Trump.
“You know, when he went to the prayer breakfast, he actually said the word ‘hell’?” They don’t know why Trump wasn’t kicked out. They don’t understand why Trump wasn’t kicked out, because it is they who have a bigoted, caricatured impersonation of religious people, particularly Christians. When it comes to Muslims, they’re the epitome of modernity, the epitome of advanced civilization. They understand them backwards and forwards, inside out, upside down. When it comes to Christians, they’re the biggest unknown potential enemy under the sun.
Let me tell you a little story. Way, way back in the early days of this program I was invited to emcee the annual dinner for the Council on National Policy. I didn’t even know what it was when I was invited. It turns out the Council on National Policy is a conservative attempt at putting together a counterpart to the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. I didn’t do enough research to understand exactly who was in this group. I thought they were all conservatives, and so I thought that permitted certain things.
So at the time there was a story that I was using in my appearances that was fairly recent, and it had the added benefit of being true. Remember this is early on. They’ve all heard of me, but they still don’t know much about me and where I’ve come from because I’m not a networker. I just… I literally, as far as these people in Washington know, came out of nowhere. I mean, there was nothing like, “You know, there’s a guy in Sacramento and he’s really kicking it. He’s kind of…” There was none of that. I mean, it’s like I didn’t exist until August 1st, 1988.
So I’m opening the event, telling everybody how happy I am to be there. They’re applauding. It’s a wonderful night. Paul Weyrich had invited me. Bill Bennett is there. So I tell this story about Ted Kennedy in a speedboat off the coast of the South of France with a scantily clad young woman less than half his age. I said, “We know that this is true because there were paparazzi helicopters flying around taking photos, still photos.” I said, “There were three photos. In the first photo, Senator Kennedy and the young women were in a state of embrace in the boat.” It was a speedboat. It was not a yacht, a speedboat. You could see.
“In the next photo, the woman is in the water, and in the third photo, Senator Kennedy is jumping off the side to go in and join her in the water,” and I said, “We’ve never seen this. We’ve never seen Senator Kennedy dive into a body of water after a woman.” I said, “This is a first.” Moderate chuckles. I was starting to get it. That should have brought the house down, but it didn’t. I said, “The pictures showed Senator Kennedy and this nubile young thing in various stages of intimacy in the boat,” and I said, “These pictures began to be passed around Washington, and they eventually reached Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama.”
He was a big old guy, and he had a big, powerful, lumbering voice with a Southern accent. And they showed the pictures of Senator Kennedy to Howell Heflin, and he looked at the pictures and said, “Well, I do declare. It do look to me like Senator Kennedy had done changed his position on offshore drillin’.” And there wasn’t a sound in the room. Not a sound. And I thought, “How does this not work in a room full of conservatives? How does this not work?” So that happened to be the last story before dinner. So there was a natural exit from the podium to get down to my table, and when I walked back to the table I was being stared daggers.
And when I got to my table a couple people said, “You should have cleared that with us.” I said, “Would you tell me what happened?” ‘Cause actually, folks, the truth, half the room laughed. The other half of the room there was no reaction. They said, “Didn’t anybody tell you that half of this club is religious leaders on the right?” I said, “Oh, no, you’re kidding, no, nobody told me that.” I said, “I wondered what James Dobson was doing here.” He was in the audience, and he had with him Donna Rice.
And I remember they said, “When it comes time for you to get back up there, you need to apologize, because that didn’t work with this crowd.” Okay. So I went up there and I apologized. Everything ended up okay. So I’m walking out at the end of the evening, I’m walking through the crowd and everybody’s, you know, either having dessert or getting ready to leave, and I saw James Dobson, Dr. Dobson. And it looked like it was Donna Rice. I mean, I just caught hell, you know, here’s Donna Rice, who was caught actually on a boat with Gary Hart, what’s not right about this picture.
So I walked up, introduced myself, I said, “Dr. Dobson, I’m Rush Limbaugh. That looked like Donna Rice?” “Yes, it was. She has found the Lord. She’s found God. Something you might want to look into.” Oh, jeez, it still wasn’t over. (laughing) Anyway, I’m convinced that I have softened that crowd up now to where Trump isn’t gonna do anything — (laughing) ask ’em to pray for Schwarzenegger. I’ve never forgotten it. Everything ended up fine. It was one of those learning experiences. Everybody that was there still laughs about it when it’s brought up.
RUSH: Now, just to be thorough on this, we had a caller ask me if I thought that Trump could have been ragging on Schwarzenegger to get the ratings of the show up. I answered the guy acknowledging his idea ’cause I’m a polite host, but I don’t think there’s anything to it. I think Trump was being who Trump is. I think Trump, he just can’t help himself. The guy replacing him on that show is not doing as well, and he wants to point it out. It was a joking, funny, lighthearted thing at the prayer breakfast. And the key to it for me is when he asked them to pray for Arnold’s ratings.
So I don’t think there’s anything more to it. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy. I don’t think there’s any conspiracies with Trump. I think one of the problems people have with Trump is he is who he is. And most everybody else in politics is trying to hide who they really are and, from the moment they’ve wanted to go into politics, they hide who they are. They understand certain things about their lives they’re gonna have to make public like their tax returns and like their financial statements, so they arrange all that stuff for public disclosure in a way that doesn’t hurt them.
Trump never thought he was ever gonna do this, and so aspects of his life that he’s lived, he’s never, ever intended or thought they would be made public. And in that sense I think somebody like Trump is professional — I think it’s one of the reasons, one of the many, why people elected Trump. They’re simply fed up with the way Washington is working.