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Bigot Rush Limbaugh Is an Insult to the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Rush Limbaugh and Melania Trump

The newest recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom has a long history of spewing racism, homophobia, and misogyny -- just like the president who bestowed it.

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Now that radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, it's worth remembering his long history of homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, and other types of bigotry.

Limbaugh received the medal during Donald Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Melania Trump, the president's wife, placed it on him. It came one day after Limbaugh announced he has advanced lung cancer. He joins such Medal of Freedom recipients as Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Joe Biden, Elie Weisel, Pope John Paul II, Ellen DeGeneres, Jackie Robinson, and many more.

Among Limbaugh's many anti-LGBTQ statements, he has asserted that when a gay man turns his back, "it's an invitation"; said the movement for equality is winning only "by virtue of force"; blamed marriage equality for incest; said a photo of a distraught gay child was faked; urged the Republican Party to denounce Caitlyn Jenner, a Republican herself, for being transgender; and predicted that photos of Melania Trump nude and embracing another woman, which were leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign, would lead LGBTQ people to vote for her husband.

That's in addition to calling feminist Sandra Fluke a "slut" because of her advocacy for insurance coverage of contraception; dubbing feminists "feminazis" and saying the movement has empowered unattractive women; describing Black athletes as "thugs"; defending his right to use the n word; playing a song about President Obama titled "Barack the Magic Negro"; and saying actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, is faking his symptoms.

The list goes on and on. Media Matters for America, a watchdog group that monitors right-wing media, has released a video of Limbaugh's most outrageous comments, juxtaposed with Trump's remarks in bestowing the Medal of Freedom. Matt Gertz of Media Matters has written a column arguing that Limbaugh's unabashed bigotry set the stage for Trump to become president; read it here.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.