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RUSH: What a fabulous job they did. What a wonderful job they did. Greetings, my friends. It’s great to have you with us. It’s Rush Limbaugh, and it is Friday.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny South Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: Open Line Friday means that you can ask me anything. It doesn’t have to be related to COVID-19, coronavirus. It doesn’t have to be related to anything to do with that. It could be questions or comments about anything. It’s the purpose of Open Line Friday. The original reason, the original purpose behind Open Line Friday was to take the program beyond where I take it by allowing you to talk about things that maybe I hadn’t brought up.

You don’t have to do that, but, I mean, it’s the option. We don’t permit this Monday through Thursday. Monday through Thursday I maintain benevolent dictatorial control over the program and the callers. On Friday I take a gigantic career risk by surrendering that benevolent, dictatorial control, autocratic control, and giving you more say so over the programming than ever, at any other time during the week. The phone number is 800-282-2882, and email address, ElRushbo@eibnet.us.

So Kathryn and I were chatting about the daily brief yesterday after the president announced the phased reopening plan for the country. And it has to happen. Folks, there is no delaying this any further. You see all over the country now people are revolting against certain state governors who want to maintain lockdown. It can’t go on. This forced shutdown, the forced ruination of the United States economy must end. And I can’t tell you. I was longing for that day yesterday.

I have been longing for the White House briefing to be what it was yesterday for a month. I cannot describe for you — I’ve tried, during the course of every day’s busy broadcast, I have tried to convey my concern and fear for you, for all of us, for everybody. I’ve been there. I don’t know how many of the people who are among our experts setting policy, I don’t know how many of them have been broke.

I don’t know how many of them have been where 22 million Americans are, without a job, without any income, and unemployment compensation that just will not get it done. I don’t know how many. There may be some. I’m sure that the law of averages would dictate some have been there. But I don’t know how many. Trump has been there, by the way. Trump has been at the edge of the cliff looking over it. His survival techniques are a fascinating story and why they’re not going to damage him ultimately with every effort they’re gonna mount on this.

But you look at some of these people. I don’t want to mention any names. The names are not the important thing here. It’s the ability to relate, the ability to have some kind of empathy. And while I understand the nature of leadership and I understand the nature of expertise and intelligence, it simply is better if there are people in the policy making sphere who’ve been there or have faced similar circumstances far better than people who are not feeling threatened financially by any of this.

And I think that way too many people in some positions of authority and power really don’t face dire economic circumstances like an increasing number of the American people do. It worries me. As I say, I’ve been there, and it’s scary to me, just the memories of being in that circumstance. And it was a number of different times for me. It’s scary to remember it. But it enables me to understand what people are going through and how it cannot go on. It simply can’t.

There may be great risk in reopening the country in phases. There may be great risk in sending people back out to start working even under the guidelines. They’re risks that have to be taken. They are certainly no different than risks the American people have taken throughout our history. We had to get involved in World War II once we were attacked by the Japanese. We had to get involved in World War I. We had to get involved in order to defend and protect ourselves.

These were risks that we tried to avoid taking for the longest time, but we had to get involved. We had to take risks after 9/11. We’ve had to take risks our entire history as a nation. Taking risks, entrepreneurism, fearlessness, it’s a hallmark of the American identity and of the American culture. And this shutdown and hunkering down in total fear is not a hallmark of American history or of American culture.

Now, very quickly, here are the guidelines that were announced yesterday. And I’m gonna have some comments in that briefing ’cause it was brilliant. Trump, even before it began, was watching the Fox News Channel, and John Roberts was their White House correspondent, said the magic words. Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Queen have signed off on the guidelines. Okay. The leadership that President Trump has exhibited, the leadership that he has engaged in, that he commanded, is worthy of being noted.

People are so busy occupying themselves with their own problems that you may not have time, you may not have the inclination to start analyzing how anybody else is doing, either living their lives or doing their jobs or what have you. But I want to make a point about it because do you realize, Mr. Snerdley and everybody, do you realize whatever the length of time this task force has been up and running there has not been one subversive leak, not one? Not a single subversive leak. Not a single act or leak of sabotage. It’s phenomenal.

Think of all the opportunities people on this task force had. There is a sympathetic media waiting out there beating down the windows, beating down the doors, begging anybody, a staff member, an actual member of the task force, “Please, please, we know things can’t be going this well. We know some of you have to think Trump’s an idiot. Just tell us. Just tell us. We promise you anonymity.” The media trying to get leaks, the media trying, desperately trying for any negative story. Not one. That is leadership.

Okay. More on that in a second. Here are the guidelines on reopening the economy and essentially Trump’s plan is three phases. And each phase or every step requires a decline in cases for two previous weeks before the next phase can be implemented.

(summarizing phases) Phase One allows certain businesses such as gymnasiums — gyms, workout centers, health and recreation centers — to reopen if social distancing is possible — and, of course, it is. You limit the number of people in the gym; you limit the number of people at each station in the gym. “Hey, Rush, it sounds like you know about gyms.” Ho-ho! I know about ’em. That’s why I don’t go there.

But I know all about ’em. Gyms were a form of punishment for me when I was growing up, like cutting the grass. I know all about this stuff. There’d be plenty of ways to load people into gyms and have the six feet or even more space between people as they wait in line. You get in there, and you disinfect the equipment after every patient — uh, person — uses whatever the equipment is, and you go.

Phase Two. Phase Two will allow schools to reopen — and large venues and restaurants and bars to open — with social distancing in place. Bars are specifically mentioned as places that will not be permitted to be open at the outset in Phase One. Phase Three allows large venues, bars, and restaurants to expand to their full capacity — and it is thought that it’s gonna take some time to get to Phase Three.

But they are specified.

There’s a plan.

There’s a program in place with clear lines and steps about how we move to each phase.

It allows… The Trump plan — well, the task force plan — allows employers to resume unrestricted staffing in the workplace. Phase Three. So again, the first phase after two weeks of a decline in cases (you’re gonna have two weeks where we’ve had a decline in cases) — not deaths, but cases — urges existing measures to remain in place while allowing certain businesses and gyms to reopen if social distancing is possible, which it is.

Second phase: States and regions that have twice satisfied the initial criteria — that would be after four weeks of decline in cases — urges all vulnerable individuals to shelter in place, encourages others to exercise social distancing in public. Nonessential travel can resume in Phase Two. Schools can reopen. Large venues, gyms, and bars can operate with social distancing steps in place — and again, the third phase is recommended only for states that have shown no signs of a spike in cases after restrictions are lifted.

This would be essentially after six weeks of a decline in cases. It allows public interactions and visits to nursing homes to resume. It lets bars and restaurants expand to full capacity. The third phase still encourages people to socially distance when possible, and to limit their time in large groups. In other words, continue to behave as you’ve been trained, as you’ve been taught here: Wear masks and keep your distance even when we get back to near full capacity in Phase Three.

And then all of this would eventually go by the wayside should there ever become a vaccine. Prior to that, massive, upscale testing will go a long way to facilitating the increased speed of adaptation of each of these phases. Pelosi issued a press release in all this saying that the guidelines are too vague, they’re inconsistent, and the plan risks further death and economic disaster.

The media and the Democrats are just waiting… I predicted yesterday. It’s gonna be this and worse. They’re just waiting for any negative news after Phase One begins, and they’re gonna dump all of it on Trump, which is why it was crucially important that everybody on the task force sign off on these guidelines. This is not Donald Trump the Autocrat writing his own guidelines and forcing the members of the task force to agree.

It’s the result of the task force — chaired by Vice President Pence — meeting, discussing, and eventually arriving at a consensus. You can have a consensus in this task force. So the leadership here, what Kathryn and I were talking about, is really impressive. I think the president has done just a marvelous job through all of this. He has navigated through a mess that he never anticipated, that nobody could have ever seen coming.

This is why when people want to talk about polling data and months and months out, I always say, “It’s irrelevant. You can’t predict things in politics. The unexpected, something that nobody knows is gonna happen, is gonna blow it all up.” The classic example is this: The coronavirus. This team, this task force — despite every effort to make it appear ununified and at odds with each other — held.

I mean, how many times did the media try to get Dr. Fauci to dump on Trump? How many times did they get the Scarf Queen to answer a trick question, the answer to which would have been, “Yeah, this guy’s a blithering idiot and I can’t believe I have to stand up here on the same stage”? How many times did they try to trick Dr. Fauci — and not even trick!

How many times did they goad the doctor? How many times throw Dr. Fauci a softball? All he would have to do is say, “Yes, this guy is everything you think he is. He’s an absolute embarrassing idiot.” Not once did the Scarf Queen or Dr. Fauci go there. There was no breaking in the ranks. There was not one subversive leak throughout and still hasn’t been.

The task force is still in existence. I mean, they’re still working, still meeting. I think what we’ve seen here is exceptional. Exceptional leadership. No doubt there has been incredible, massive amounts of negotiation behind the scenes. What with all the CEOs that Trump brought in. What with all the private sector people that the president needed to retool, to make ventilators and masks and so forth.

Can you imagine the things that we didn’t see, and yet look at how it all turned out! An example yesterday: Trump has in the truckers, FedEx and UPS. He has them up there at the White House thanking them, praising them. These are people in many cases some union people probably inclined to vote Democrat, but there they were.

Throughout all of this, not only did Drs. Fauci and Birx not take the bait whenever they were given a chance to insult Trump, Trump never diminished anybody. Trump anybody insulted anybody on his team. Trump never made anybody say, “Well, if they’re that bad, why do you have them on the team?” He was nothing but respectful of everybody on his team. He stood behind all of them.

He was happy to share the stage with any and all of them. He did not tweet when things weren’t going well that somebody was a buffoon and made a mistake. He acted as real leaders do. He stood behind the American people. He made it clear that everything going on was for the benefit the American people. All the while, he was taking just incredible incoming fire from critics, the Democrats, the media — and he held the line.


RUSH: Folks, there’s something else that happened yesterday, and I was so hoping for this. I did not officially predict it. But I know the power of suggestion, and I know the power of real optimism, not fake or phony optimism. I noticed something happened the minute that task force briefing ended yesterday with the president announcing the guidelines under which we reopen the country and the itinerant attitude that he had about it.

“We gotta do it. We’re gonna come back. We’re gonna come back better than ever. We’re gonna come back stronger than ever.” This is this kind of thing the American people need to hear. Do you know what happened? Once that started being discussed, jump-starting the economy, everybody became all in with it. Everybody started having their own ideas. “Yeah, we can do this.” No matter where I watched on cable news, I’m seeing all kinds of people go from the day before, “No, I don’t think we can reopen.

“I think it may be too soon. I think…” We get the task force briefing describing how we’re gonna do it, and now, everybody’s got their own ideas. Everybody is revved and ready for it, moving forward at a good rate. It’s fascinating. It’s exactly what I was hoping would happen. More and more people are signing on to the concept of reopening. It was good.


RUSH: I know there are some governors that are pushing back on Trump’s guidelines to reopen the economy. Some governors are not pushing back. I’m gonna tell you what’s gonna happen here, because I saw it. I noticed it yesterday.

Once we changed the subject at the briefing from ventilators and N95 masks to supply chain, to hospitals… Once we changed… I was longing for that briefing yesterday. I’ve been longing for it from up… Here. Hit the jingle so I can finish.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: Right, right, right. That’s right. Whatever you want to talk about. Get in line. 800-282-2882. I was longing for this yesterday because personally, I needed the change of subject. I think everybody needed a change of subject. We needed to start talking about action. We needed to start talking about getting back to work.

We needed to start talking about reopening the economy. The most abnormal thing in the world is to have the U.S. economy shut down to the tune of losing… I mean, we took a $22 trillion economy, and inside of two weeks, we put 22 million people out of work. You talk about abnormal? It was running the risk, the longer it went on — shutting down the economy, having people stay at home, having cities be ghost towns.

That was running the risk of becoming the new normal. And, my friends, there’s an entire political party, political apparatus out there that wanted that to become the new normal. Believe you me, there are people who wanted the American economy to be one where you stay home, the government is able to get you fed.

If they can do that with government spending — i.e., socialism — then everything is fine, and there were people advocating that. That’s what’s abnormal. That’s what is a huge violation of basic human nature: Sit around, do nothing. The American people are not gonna be cooped up.

So I was longing for that briefing yesterday because I knew when it happened it was gonna totally change the dynamic, the paradigm, what have you — and it did. You could see it after the briefing. You could look at the guests on cable news shows — other than MSNBC, of course. You can look at the subjects that were discussed.

You could see it on whatever websites you clicked. There was an entire attitudinal change. “Yeah, man, let’s get going! Let’s reopen.” People began coming up with their own ideas how to do it, with their own criteria. So the real infectious thing is optimism. Pessimism is not infectious. Pessimism works by scaring everybody into compliance, into conformity.

Oh-ho, conformity! I’ll tell you. I’m not big on conformity. I can’t do it. It’s why I was never gonna succeed in a corporate structure. Nothing against ’em. I just wasn’t cut out for it. But we’re gonna put… I’m gonna tell you what’s gonna happen here. We’re gonna put our toes in the water. People who are a little afraid to leave home are gonna leave home.

Some are gonna stay at home until they’re less afraid. But this is going to happen. A gym will open, and people will go to the gym, and they’ll leave the gym and they’ll be alive. And people will say, “Wow. He survived a trip to the gym. Wow,” or, “I survived a trip to the restaurant.” There are gonna be some restaurants that will open for in-restaurant service, not takeout.

People are gonna survive.

People are gonna live.

They’re gonna survive these experiences that we’ve been told for the last month could kill us — and when that happens, cures and treatments are going to be announced, and they’re gonna increase in number. Once a few people go to the park… (singing) “Saturday… in the park…” Chicago. Remember that tune?

Once some people get out there and start feeding the squirrels, get out there start feeding the ducks, once their dogs start jumping in the pools and all of that — once they start going to the hair salon, once they start going to the nail salon, once they start going to the office — everybody’s gonna jump in, as these things happen and people survive it.

Because I’m telling you, right now there’s an entire political apparatus that wants you to think doing any of the things you used to do could kill you. You could die — and if people end up surviving these things, it’s just going to build on itself. You could see it beginning yesterday with just the expression of opinion and thought.

And then people are gonna start congregating. And they’ll do it with social distancing. And they’ll do it with masks. And they’ll draw funny little things on their masks. And some people will cut holes in the masks for their nose and pretend that they’re Joe Biden.


RUSH: Avon Lake, Ohio. This Jeanine. With just. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thank you. It’s an honor. I have two comments. The first has to with the point you made earlier in the show about Trump’s leadership and why there have been so few, if no, leaks. And while I was self-isolating the other day, I was thinking about this. I was thinking, you know, it is strange that Fauci and Team Scarf have not been out there bad-mouthing him. And, you know, these are swamp creatures. And they are used to dealing in a bureaucracy, and no matter how dire the circumstances, they’ve always dealt in slow-moving bureaucracies. And I think they may genuinely be impressed with his ability to make immediate decisions and act on them. That’s my thought. And then I do have one more comment if you have time.

RUSH: Absolutely.

CALLER: Okay. Well, great. Tomorrow — I’m in Ohio, and a large group of us are gonna be going down do Columbus to rally to try to get the wine off the dime and open up the state before May 1st. So if you can join us at the statehouse at 1:30 tomorrow, there will be a very large group of us rallying and social distancing.

RUSH: There you go. Okay, Jeanine, thank you very much. As to the comment she made about Fauci and the Scarf Queen not leaking. I clearly had them in mind, but there are many more people on that task force than just Dr. Fauci. I mean, the Scarf Queen has a team, Team Scarf in there. And every one of those people that you see that strides to the microphone, they all have staff behind them. That task force, there are hundreds of people on that task force, folks. Hundreds of people in support staff positions and any number. They’re clerical, they’re any number. Not a single leak from any of them. I wasn’t even specifically thinking of Fauci and Birx. They want the daily exposure. They want — hang on.


RUSH: Yeah, folks, there’s a lot of people that could have been leaking, and there wasn’t one leak. There wasn’t one act of sabotage from the entire coronavirus task force. You’ve got… Mike Pence ran it. You have the military. You’ve got the guy that was the supply chain logistics expert who appeared now and then.

That involves a tremendous number of military people, and we know there’s some military people out there who don’t like President Trump, as in Lt. Colonel Vindman — O say can you see. So I think it’s remarkable, actually. It’s another testament to the leadership that we saw, that we got from President Trump.


RUSH: Exactly as I hoped, exactly as I predicted. I told you that I thought once the tone of the briefing changed to reopening, that everybody’d get on board automatically and start talking about it. Now more and more people are claiming they’re gonna abandon their state lockdowns. The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, has just issued an executive order to reopen the state.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: Right on! Right on, right on, right on! Meanwhile, Trump is tweeting out there to “liberate” Democrat states with stay at home protests, liberate these states keeping being kept locked down by Democrat governors for political reasons. Again, the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, Lenny Curry, says he’s gonna reopen the beaches with limitations.

This is also big. The beaches… You know, you can practice social distancing on a beach, for crying out loud. But you haven’t been able to. So according to the Jacksonville mayor, Lenny Curry, you can walk, you can bike, you can hike, you can fish, you can run, you can swim, you can walk your pets, you can even surf out there. What you cannot do is take a chair and sit on the beach.

You cannot congregate in groups out there. But if you want to fly your kite… By the way, where I live people have been doing that anyway. Where I live, the surfers have been out there anyway. Where I live, people have been violating this stuff for — I’ve noticed it — the past two or three weeks. And I’m not trying to go to anybody in trouble.

But nobody is apparently going out there and telling them to stop doing it. I mean, people are flying these gigantic kites out there. People are walking around. I don’t know when our beaches are gonna officially reopen. But in Jacksonville, Florida, again, mayor Lenny Curry, Republican, says you can walk, bike, hike, fish.

I don’t know who would want to do any of that. But if you like it, you can. You can walk, bike, hike, fish, run, swim, walk your pets, and surf. You just can’t sit on the beach. You cannot congregate in groups. And Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, issued an executive order to reopen the state. I was longing for this.

You who have been listening regularly know that I have been longing for this — and it’s not for me. It’s not for me. It’s for everybody who has been suffering some of the most dire economic circumstances. I mean, stop and think about it. You’re part of an economic rebirth, a roaring economic period of three years. Record number of jobs. Wages are on the way up.

New careers are being created and sought by the week, by the day. The economic opportunity in America is bursting. It was only three, five, seven years ago the American people were told not to expect this kind of thing anymore because the world economy had changed so that, “Eh, better get used to an America in decline rather than an America where high expectations dictate.”

And along comes Donald Trump blows that away. And then one day after three years of being part of this economic rebirth — if you wanted to be, if you wanted to be out there working and advancing your career. Then one day, for apparently valid reasons, we are told, “You can’t go to work today. Your business is not allowed to open today.

“Your recreational opportunities are taken away from you. You’re not allowed to leave your house for any reason, under penalty of who knows what,” and we’re into what, week five? How long has this shutdown been going on? Week five, week six, whatever it is — and it’s the most abnormal state for normal people to be involved in.

It was unsustainable. It can’t go on. It could not go on. And the first chance that people had to follow, they would do it. They just needed a little leadership on the reopen side. Just need a little leadership — leadership and a plan, a plan of how we’re gonna do it. Try to maintain as much safety as possible, dip our toes in the water.

All it took was somebody making the first move, and then here come a bunch of people willing to follow, and then more people willing to lead. So this is going to feed off of itself.

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