Medal of Freedom honoree Rush Limbaugh hurls homophobic, sexist and racist attacks at Trump's rivals

"America's still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president," Limbaugh says

By Matthew Rozsa
February 13, 2020 6:36PM (UTC)
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First Lady Melania Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh as his wife Kathryn watches during the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

One week after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh hurled a barrage of homophobic, racist and sexist attacks at President Donald Trump's rivals in the 2020 election.

While offering his thoughts on the Democratic primary race, Limbaugh referred to former South Bend Mayor Buttigieg as "a gay guy" who "loves kissing his husband on debate stages." And he speculated that Democrats were asking themselves how that would look next to "Mr. Man, Donald Trump" on stage. 


Limbaugh asserted that some Democrats believed that "America's still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president." At the same time, he claimed that others were thinking, "That's exactly what we need to do, Rush: Get a gay guy kissing his husband on stage. You ram it down Trump's throat and beat him in the general election.'"

The radio host then laughed before asking, "Really? Having fun envisioning that."

But Limbaugh's smears were not reserved for Buttigieg. Earlier in the segment, Limbaugh referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who underperformed in both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, as "Fauxcahontas, way back there in the background barely out of the tepee bringing up the tail end." (Warren courted controversy in the past for claiming that she was part Native American, an assertion which she attempted to substantiate with a DNA test in 2018. While it was determined that Warren has a Native American ancestor dating back six to ten generations, the senator has acknowledged that was not the same as being Cherokee.)


Limbaugh also joked that Democrats would not want to nominate Klobuchar, because "she doesn't have a prayer. Trump's going to wipe the floor with her and that would mean two women in a row get wiped out by Donald Trump." (Limbaugh's comments referenced former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016.)

Trump was roundly criticized for awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Limbaugh during his annual State of the Union address last week. During the speech, Trump referred to Limbaugh, who was recently diagnosis with Stage 4 lung cancer, as "the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet" and announced that he was bestowing the medal upon Limbaugh "in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and you inspire."

However, Limbaugh has courted considerable controversy during his career as a radio host for his derogatory comments targeting non-white males. His many sexist comments include coining the term "feminazis," referring to Chelsea Clinton as "the White House dog," calling contraception advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" and arguing that feminism exists "to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."


He has also made a number of racist comments, among them calling former President Barack Obama "Barack the Magic Negro" and a "Hafrican American," questioning whether Obama was born in America, describing NBA teams as "gangs" and claiming that all composite pictures of wanted criminals "resemble Jesse Jackson."

Limbaugh's homophobic attacks include falsely claiming in 2004 that AIDS has not and will not spread to heterosexuals (except for those who are promiscuous), defending former President Ronald Reagan's refusal to recognize or address the AIDS epidemic and opposing same-sex marriage by saying that gay rights advocates "seek to impose their perverted views  their depraved views v on family and marriage."


Buttigieg is the first openly gay man to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, as well as the second overall to run for president after Republian Fred Karger in 2012.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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