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RUSH: So, ladies and gentlemen, how many times have you heard me say — how many times have I said — that the news that will affect the election hasn’t happened yet? Every time they issued a poll in the past six months, I said, “Don’t pay any attention to it. It doesn’t mean anything. The events that will affect the election haven’t happened yet.” Anybody want to dispute that?

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

RUSH: Where we specialize in perfection! We specialize in pursuing excellence. It is the Rush Limbaugh program. It’s the Open Line Friday edition. Now, that just means that when we go to the phones the callers have even more freedom, latitude, and leeway than they normally do. This program is a benevolent dictatorship when you strip it all down.

I run it, I’m a good guy, and I am fair and honest, and I treat everybody that calls this program with utmost respect. But, it’s also a radio show we gotta keep people listening to and I can’t allow for things to get boring here. Now, I’m not boring. So that means if there’s anything boring on this program, it will be the callers. Can’t permit that.

So Monday through Thursday, we screen it pretty tightly. That’s the thing. On Friday, though, we don’t screen it very tightly at all. Pretty much whatever you want to talk about’s fair game. And I run that great professional risk, turning the program over to the nonprofessionals. It’s fun. I look forward to it, and we’re at it again. 800-282-2882 is the number if you want to be on the program.

President Trump and the first lady Melania Trump announced earlier this morning that they have both tested positive for COVID-19. I was made aware of this just before 1 a.m. today. In fact, it was in two stages. I had been made aware that it was possible, and that the president and the first lady had been given tests and the results were being awaited.

It was shortly before 1 a.m. that I found out what the results were, and I have to tell you, folks, I was crushed. It’s really strange, the emotions that hit you. You learn a lot about yourself, and you learn a lot about what you really think. I mean, the virus has been around here since the beginning of the year, essentially, February-March.

Depending on whether or not you know somebody who has contracted it, it is dealt with by people in different ways. If you don’t know anybody who has come down with COVID-19, you think of it in a certain set of ways. If you know somebody who has, you think of it entirely differently. If you know somebody who has been killed by it, you think of it entirely differently than people who only know of it from a distance.

And then you add to all of that what you think of the virus in the first place. Do you think of it as a death sentence if anybody gets it? And a lot of people do. You know, we’ve run the stories over the course of this past year, discussed them, where something like 30%… Am I getting this right? Yeah, 30% of the American people — like ninety million Americans — believe that everybody who gets COVID-19 dies from it.

That’s what it was, and that something like nine million Americans have died. That’s right: 30% equals ninety million Americans. A huge number. I think it’s over half the American people think that, or very close to it. I’d have to look up that story. But the bottom line is the way the virus has been treated in the media, the way it’s been reported on, the pictures of boarded-up cities and towns…

Everything that’s happened: The economic downturns as a result, the blue state cities and the blue state states that have been kept shut down because of the virus — artificially, on purpose — to affect the economy of this country and to make it sluggish, to prevent its full-fledged return for political reasons. But however you see this, the impression that a lot of Americans have is that this virus is a death sentence.

But it isn’t.

But nevertheless, you still have the way it’s reported — the way we are altering every aspect of American life because of it — you almost have to excuse people think that it’s a death sentence because it is being treated as such. It’s being reported as such day in and day out. Pretty much every public health suggestion, admonition — local, city, or state requirement — is rooted or based on the fact that if you contract this virus, you are in huge, deep, big trouble.

Everybody is, according to the way it’s reported. So you can’t blame people in a way for thinking that. But here is… I watched Dr. Marty Makary today. He’s a brilliant cancer specialist at Johns Hopkins, and he is a regular on Fox News, and he has been talking sense about the virus and the way it impacts various people and, you know, what to do to prevent it, to keep from getting it. He’s really, really good.

He said today that Melania Trump — from all of the best kept medical data that we have since the inception of this virus in the United States — has a 99.9% chance of a full recovery. And then he said that President Trump has a 99% chance of a full recovery. That took me aback, because I have been under the belief that President Trump, as somebody who’s over 65…

By the way, he’s not obese. They’re trying to say that he’s obese. He’s overweight, but he’s not that obese. But regardless, they say that he’s got demographic characteristics that put him at greater risk for really bad things happening if he contracts the virus. And here’s Marty, Dr. Makary, saying, “Oh, he has a 99% chance of a full recovery.”

In my case, getting COVID would be dire. It’s all about whether or not your immune system is firing on all cylinders and whether your body can mount a defense against it. President Trump… I have to tell you, when I heard this at 1 a.m. today, I was crushed, folks. I was crushed, and I’ve been examining, “Why was I crushed?” Is it because of what I think about the virus?

It’s the belief system that has evolved in many based on the way the virus has been reported on in the media and independent ways I’ve informed myself about it. I mean, you’d rather not get it, even though the president is said to have a 99% chance of a full recovery. To me… You know, all I could think about? I’ll just share with you the rush of emotions that happened instantaneously.

I was crushed, and I was trying to put myself in their shoes. The president and first lady are in the residence of the White House. What are they thinking? How is this impacting them? Really. Not the public face they’re gonna put forward, but rather just as human beings, how does this affect anybody who gets it? But President Trump isn’t just anybody.

He’s president of the United States. And then I had flash memories of that night in the House chamber on, what was it, February 4th, the State of the Union where the president bestowed upon me the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And I just… I saw this larger-than-life individual prowling at the podium that night. State of the Union, House Chamber.

Larger than life.

See, that’s the key. We’re dealing with somebody here who to all of us… I don’t care whether you hate the guy; I don’t care whether you think that he is a lying, worthless, morally bankrupt, Bad Orange Man. He is still larger than life. In fact, I would venture to say that if you hate the man, he dominates your life more than people’s lives who love him are dominated.

You are so obsessed with the guy. Your dislike or your hatred is so consuming that you can’t stop thinking about him, and that makes him larger than life. You wouldn’t know what to do with him if he weren’t here. You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself. You have… Those of you who don’t like the Bad Orange Man, those of you who have convinced yourself that every problem you face in life is his fault?

What a convenience excuse you’ve got. Donald Trump is the reason you’re, A, unhappy; B, miserable; C, have no job, no job prospects. Whatever your reason for not lying the guy, it is all consuming. He is larger than life. To people that love him, to people that respect him, to people who have invested the literal hope and future of our country in Trump, he’s larger than life.

This cannot happen.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

Whether you love, like, dislike, or hate Donald Trump, the one thing that you know — and you either love this or you hate this — is he’s invincible. He seems invincible. Imagine, folks, the American left and the Democrat Party. They’ve done everything they know how to destroy Donald Trump. I mean literally destroy him. Not just get him thrown out of office.

They have tried to destroy his reputation, his family, his life, his past, his future. They’ve thrown every weapon they have, and they have watched every weapon just bounce off, making not even a dent. They haven’t stopped him. They may have slowed down the implementation of his agenda, but they haven’t stopped Donald Trump.

To them, whether they want to admit it or not, he seems invincible, particularly health-wise. I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve never seen him sick, never heard of him being sick, even with the common cold. So knowing what I knew or what I thought I knew about president being in the number one demographic danger zone, and this rushing flood of emotions about what must they have felt like when they got the results back…

And I know (chuckles) what that is, by the way. Me and my family know what those feelings are when you get a diagnosis. And, you know, some people think COVID-19’s a death sentence. Other people know that it’s not. But you can’t blame either one because, as I say, the way it’s been reported will shape the way you think about it. And then when something happens like this to somebody you love…

When it happens to you, it’s a whole different thing. You deal with it in different ways when it happens to you, be it COVID-19 or some other diagnosis. Regardless of whether it happens to you or to somebody you know, respect, have immense hope invested in, life is precious. We all only get one. I look at Donald Trump, and if there’s ever been anybody who has lived life to the maximum potential, it would have to be (chuckles) Donald Trump.

You know, William F. Buckley Jr. was the same way. An incredible life lived. Not seemingly a wasted waking moment. Same thing with Trump. Then here comes illness. It’s one of many common denominators that no matter how you live your life, no matter what kind of person you are, here comes illness. It’s the great equalizer. It is the great common denominator.

We used to be able to say, “all of us,” meaning Americans. That’s not true now. It’s still true for a vast majority, but it’s not universally true. We love and respect the office of the presidency so much. The office of the presidency is revered. It’s revered in our country. It’s revered among our people. It’s revered in our history.

It is crucially important. It is the most important leadership job in the world. Less than 50 people have held it, and you hate to… It was the same with JFK. I was 9 years old in ’60, 12 years old in ’63 when John Kennedy was assassinated. Even at 12 years old, you knew this is not right. It was devastating.

Anything happening to the occupant of that office is amplified and compounded because of the office that we love and respect and revere so much. We love this president. We do! We love how hard he’s fighting for us, for the American people, regardless what’s thrown at him. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t stop fighting for us, for greatness, for America.


RUSH: Right before we went to break, it was announced that the Bidens have tested negative for COVID-19. Everybody at the debate was tested, and the Bidens have tested negative. Senator Mike Lee from Utah has announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19. And, of course, Hope Hicks — who is the ranking presidential aide — tested positive for it. It is thought that she is the spreader here.

I don’t know if that’s still an active thought. But she does have it, and it’s thought that’s where the president and the first lady came down with it, at least the last I saw of this. Anyway, before I have to go to the break, very quickly — speaking for myself and people I know and many of you — we love Donald Trump. We love and support him.

We continue to invest in him because of his continued fight for us and for the country and for the American people. He’s the only one engaging in it. Now, there might be some other Republicans that are on the same page and making the effort, but he’s the leader. He’s the one that gives everybody the freedom to move and the cover, and he’s unwavering in his professed love for and support for this country.

I’m gonna have some thoughts on what this election’s really all about. You know, you want to make it as simple as you can for people. So that’s coming up. If I had a medal to give Donald Trump, I would give him one. Sadly, I don’t. But if I did, I would. We wish him and the first lady the best, speedy recovery and so forth.


RUSH: It’s Open Line Friday. And I always try to get started on the phones in the first hour. Takes some discipline, but we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna start in Redding, Connecticut. This is Reuben. Welcome, Reuben. Great to have you here, sir.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: And Godspeed to you. You have my family’s prayers for your health and speedy and full recovery.

RUSH: Well, thank you very much, sir. I appreciate that.

CALLER: You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Hey, Rush, the reason I’m calling is that if I hadn’t heard the news myself earlier today and I had just turned in to your monologue.

RUSH: Yep?

CALLER: I would have thought you’re eulogizing the president. I mean, you were scaring me there. You sounded down in the dumps and almost talking to him like he was in the past tense.

RUSH: Is that right? That’s fascinating.

CALLER: Yeah. (chuckles) Go back and listen to it yourself; you’ll see what I’m talking about.

RUSH: Well, you know, it’s a good point. I don’t get to listen to myself the way all of you do.


RUSH: ‘Cause I’m too busy doing it. If I were to go back and listen to it, I already know what I said, so I can’t possibly hear this program to hear this program as it’s heard by you. I don’t think that I could possibly appreciate how great this show is, not like you all do —

CALLER: (chuckles)

RUSH: — because I’m too busy doing it.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: But your observation here is fascinating to me because that was one of my points. It all depends on how you perceive this virus, how you perceive the reporting on the virus. I’m telling you… That’s why I went through the numbers of 30% of Americans, 9 million, believe that everybody who gets the COVID-19 virus dies from it. Why do they think this? I guaran-damn-tee you it’s because of the way it’s been reported in the media.

So if you heard my comments on this as a eulogy, well, in no way do I think the president is going to succumb to this. But it was more a sober reaction to this. He just seems… Of all people that are invincible to things like this, Donald Trump is the top of that list, and there aren’t very many people on the list. But I’m still fascinated. You heard it as a quasi-eulogy, and if that’s…

I think that’s largely in part because of the way I have been conditioned to react to the virus, what I’ve been conditioned to think that it is. Plus, there’s a personal component here, too, and that is ’cause of my circumstances. If I were to get it, it would be dire. It would be dire. That’s why I’ve had to, you know, put Hermit 101, Recluse 101 into full-fledged practice here.

It’s all about the immune system and whether or not you can mount a fight against it. But I appreciate the observation. I didn’t mean for that to be the perception. I’m glad that you shared it with me. I’m glad you called too. That’s why we wanted to put this up first, to get this covered. Even I, at times, can learn how things that happen here are heard and perceived by you. It’s very valuable.

Here’s Connie. Lake… Hang on a minute. Lake Orion, Michigan. Great to have you. I was gonna say “onion.” I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I said, “It can’t be Lake Onion. I never heard of Lake Onion.”

CALLER: (chuckling) Hi, Rush!

RUSH: So, anyway, how are you doing, Connie?

CALLER: Good. Love you. Love the president. You did sound kind of sad there in the beginning. So my positive spin is, this is gonna be a good turning point for our president. He’ll be able to speak and relate to people, you know, once he gets through this, what treatments he’s had, et cetera. And my other comment is that masks aren’t 100%, you know? So just God bless him, and God bless you.

RUSH: Let me go back to what you said. Why do you think this is a good turning point in the campaign or a turning point, period?

CALLER: Because he’ll be able to relate to the people. He has it now and once he gets through it, which he will —

RUSH: Fascinating! So you think that —

CALLER: That’s my positive spin on your sadness. (laughs)

RUSH: So you think I sounded sad.

CALLER: Yes, I did. (laughs)

RUSH: No, no, no. Is not… I’m appreciative of the feedback.


RUSH: So the first caller said, “You sounded like you’re delivering a eulogy.” You think that I was “projecting sadness.” Look, I’m not happy that he and Melania have contracted it.

CALLER: Yeah. But I think this is a good point for the president. He’s basically healthy and he’s gonna make it through it. He’ll be able to speak to Americans going through it.

RUSH: That’s what I said. I thought I made that clear. Anyway, so, you think this will help him relate to people more now that he himself has come down with the virus, that he’ll be able to relate more to people who have it. Now, that… I’m sorry. You want to talk about interpretation. I’m interpreting you as saying the president really doesn’t relate to people very well.


RUSH: Here’s Patricia in Poplar, Montana. You’re next, Open Line Friday. Hi.

CALLER: Hi. How are you? Honor to speak with you, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: And mega prayers. I just want you to know that I have family members in the medical profession who have had firsthand experience with COVID-19 and therefore I know the science, and I didn’t think you were being negative at all when you talked about the president and the first lady —

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: — because I already knew the science, and what you told us, your listeners, is you told us the science — which, by the way, is 100% correct, what you’re saying, according to my two doctors in my family. And also further in the program you talked about masks, and that’s right. They aren’t always gonna protect you because that COVID thing is so tiny, it can get through any mask, except for some of the ones that the medical providers wear which are the N95s. So that’s what I have to say, and I want to say one more thing: God gave you your gift. He’s also giving you strength I think to get through your problems. So —

RUSH: I can’t deny that. That’s very observant on your part. That’s why I say, “talent on loan from God.” Anyway, I’m glad you called, Patricia. Thanks very much. See? There’s another caller that doesn’t think that I was in eulogy mode. I was not in eulogy mode in any way, shape, manner, or form. It was… You know what it was, folks? I’ll tell you. It was more a reaction to learning that somebody who’s a hero of mine is actually not invincible. It was a sobering reality, like a wake-up call.

Actually, I have better expression of that thought, but I’ve got time constraints


RUSH: You know how it is when one of your heroes who seems indestructible is shown to be human? That was more my reaction to Trump getting COVID-19. It wasn’t a eulogy, folks, and I really don’t mean to overreact. I just had one caller who suggested that.


RUSH: Here’s Susan in Miami as we return to the phones. Great to have you, Susan. How are you?

CALLER: I’m great. It’s such an honor to be on your show, and I thank you for taking my call.

RUSH: You bet! Thank you.

CALLER: I’m actually from Missouri. I want to make two points. You know, they say that with the COVID that the symptoms can show up four or five days before you actually test positive. I was a little disappointed on the debate the other night with Trump, you know, getting a little angry and, you know, the media had a frenzy with that. And I’m just —

RUSH: Wait a minute. What are you disappointed about?

CALLER: I felt like he maybe came off a little bit angry at times. Now, let me preface that just by saying that I feel that Chris Wallace is always softer on the Democrats than he is on the Republicans. I knew that Trump knew that going in. So, you know, he probably, um, you know, thought that. But I… You know, I just… I think that maybe he wasn’t feeling at the top of his game if he had symptoms coming on. So maybe (crosstalk) —

RUSH: Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho! I see where you’re going. It took you a little while it gets there.


RUSH: But I see what you’re saying, ’cause you had to get your digs in at Chris Wallace.

CALLER: (giggles)

RUSH: And you had to get your digs in at Trump.

CALLER: (giggles)

RUSH: You had to tell everybody you thought was grumpy, was angry, didn’t do as well —

CALLER: I’m 100% a Trump supporter.

RUSH: I know you are, but you still wanted to get the digs in. Now the reason is you think he was already feeling the symptoms of COVID-19?

CALLER: Yes, exactly. That’s my theory. A theory.

RUSH: Well, let me tell you something. Your theory… I can tell you that your theory could be exactly right, and I can say that based on personal experience. But not with COVID-19, with something else. But then I’m gonna draw a line. I’m not gonna go any further ’cause I vowed I’m not gonna be a cancer patient on the radio here.

But if I look back at things, there were things that I was having trouble doing in December that I didn’t think anything about, that didn’t explain themselves until the beginning of February/end of January. Anyway, your theory could be. I don’t know how much before testing COVID symptoms present, though. It’s the only thing I don’t know.

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