On his radio program Monday, Rush Limbaugh shocked the world by announcing that he was recently diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. The next day, President Trump took a moment in the middle of his State of the Union address to honor Limbaugh by awarding him with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After a three-day hiatus, Limbaugh returned to his top-rated show on Friday and declared himself “one of the luckiest people alive.” He also told the memorable story of how Trump convinced him, last second, to come to the State of the Union address despite having his first medical treatment for cancer the same day.
“What a week. What an incredible week,” Limbaugh exclaimed at the start of his talk radio show Friday. “I mean, from beginning to end. And it’s still going. And there is still winning that’s happening today. Just incredible.”
After noting that among the “winning” that happened this week was the Democratic Party imploding because “they have lost their entire moral foundation,” Limbaugh allowed himself to do something he doesn’t frequently do: talk about what he’s personally experienced this week after his difficult announcement Monday. His overarching response to what has transpired, he explained, is a profound, firsthand understanding of a famous statement by Lou Gehrig.
Revealing the diagnosis, said Limbaugh, “has been one of the biggest blessings” of his life (transcript via RushLimbaugh.com):
I understand now what Lou Gehrig, when he was diagnosed with ALS in the 1930s, he’s announcing his retirement. This is after he has been the Iron Man, played in all these consecutive games, the record wasn’t broken until Cal Ripken Jr. came along. He’s standing at home plate at Yankee Stadium, and he said, after having announced, the world knew, that he had ALS, everybody knew what it was, that it was fatal and there was no chance of recovery, and there still isn’t, by the way. And Lou Gehrig said, “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on earth.” I’ve seen that black and white film replayed numerous times in my life.
And don’t misunderstand, I know he meant it. But the first two or three times I heard it I had trouble processing. How in the world can anybody feel lucky after having been told that you have a disease from which there is no recovery and that it’s fast? And there was a part of me that said, “Okay. This is something that famous people are supposed to say. He’s been very successful in life. He was uniquely talented to play baseball and all that.” And I thought, “Okay. Clearly there is a portion of Lou Gehrig that thinks he has to say this.”
And now I know that’s all wrong. Now I know that there was nothing forced or phony or public-relations-related about it because I feel the same way. I cannot thank all of the people that I have heard from since Monday, and they are still getting a hold of me. There are people I had no idea they knew how to get a hold of me. And the sentiments, the thoughts they’re expressing are just incredibly nice and supportive. And to have this kind of support and to know it, to be fully aware of it, yeah, it does make me one of the luckiest people alive. I’m trying to respond to everybody. I haven’t even made a dent in it. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to, but I’m going to try. Some people have written three or four times.
Limbaugh also took a few minutes to explain what transpired ahead of Trump honoring him during his State of the Union address Tuesday.
“I can’t tell you the entire story now without divulging medical details that I, frankly, don’t want to give,” said Rush. “I don’t want to give people an opportunity to start investigating and writing about and pronouncing opinions and this kind of thing. People know enough about what I have. It’s late stage. It’s advanced lung cancer. But there’s good news associated with the diagnosis and the treatment.”
“So we are where I am to have the first procedure that will set up the beginning of treatment,” he continued. “This is Tuesday, and it is scheduled for 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We took no clothes, Kathryn and I. … We went Grub City with shorts, T-shirts. I mean, the whole week’s gonna be in the hospital. There’s no reason to take a coat and tie. There’s no reason to pack a whole bunch of stuff that you’re never gonna use. ‘Light”’ was the byword. The procedure was gonna be 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I’d have to show up for it at 12 noon to do the prep, talk to the doctors and so forth. At 9 a.m., the phone rings. I’ve got the number in my address book. So it’s the White House. I answered the phone, and they said, ‘Can you hold for President Trump?'”
Watch Limbaugh give the rest of the account below (full transcript below):
(Part 2/2) pic.twitter.com/nhhQuYBSgU
— Wojciech Pawelczyk (@Woj_Pawelczyk) February 7, 2020
Transcript of Limbaugh’s account of Trump convincing him to attend the SOTU via RushLimbaugh.com:
So we are where I am to have the first procedure that will set up the beginning of treatment. This is Tuesday, and it is scheduled for 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We took no clothes, Kathryn and I. We just… We went Grub City with shorts, T-shirts. I mean, the whole week’s gonna be in the hospital.
There’s no reason to take a coat and tie. There’s no reason to pack a whole bunch of stuff that you’re never gonna use. “Light” was the byword. The procedure was gonna be 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I’d have to show up for it at 12 noon to do the prep, talk to the doctors and so forth. At 9 a.m., the phone rings. I’ve got the number in my address book. So it’s the White House. I answered the phone, and they said, “Can you hold for President Trump?”
I said, “Yes.”
“Rush! Rush! How you doing, buddy? Great to hear from you! Hey, look, what are you doing later today?”
I said, “Well, I have a serious medical procedure that’s gonna start — all this — at 5 o’clock.”
“Well, look, what’s the doctor’s name? I want to call him and have him delay it for a couple days ’cause I need you down here tonight.”
I said (chuckles), “Uh… (chuckles) Mr. President, um… I’m stunned.”
He said, “Look, your health comes first; there’s no question. But can’t they just do half of what they’re gonna do and then send you down here? Believe me, you don’t want to miss this. It’s gonna be great. It’s gonna be great. You don’t want to miss this.”
Well, I don’t know what’s up. He told me he wanted me to be his guest at the State of the Union, that he was gonna mention my name, recognize me. I hung up the phone and for the next hour and a half, I agonized — I literally agonized — over what to do. Kathryn and I are both sitting in the hotel room. As time is marching on, we’re faced with the possibility of having to ask an entire medical team to broom their schedule and reschedule to accommodate this.
But we haven’t told ’em yet. We’re discussing the logistics. Now, there’s something else. Earlier that day, I had sent EIB One to take my nieces from New York to Cape Girardeau, and it wasn’t gonna be available to me until 4:30 in the afternoon. So I’m putting that in the equation. I mean, there’s no way to even get there even if I want to, unless we charter. We could do that. But no clothes, no shirt, no tie, no socks, no dress shoes. Zip, zero, nada.
Kathryn’s saying, “You’ve got to do this! You can’t not do this.” I said, “How are we gonna do it?” She said, “Leave it to me.”
An hour and a half later, I called the president back and tried to tell him no. Remember, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I have no idea. I just… He’s told me, by the way… I should say, he has told me that he’s gonna present me with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but a couple weeks from now in the Oval Office. I had no idea at this particular time on Tuesday morning that this was gonna happen at the State of the Union, and he didn’t tell me during all these phone calls.
So I called him back around 10:30, intending to be as persuasive as I could, to thank him and just say that there was too much here to overcome to get down there, including the medical schedule. The doctors and everything have been scheduled. This story, if I could tell it — and someday, I’m gonna be able to give you every detail here. But for people that do not know Donald Trump, this story will explain him, his essence, his attitude toward life.
There simply is nothing you can’t do. There’s nothing that can’t be done, and there’s not a single obstacle that can’t be dealt with — and it’s not even hard. It’s not even… He didn’t have to stop and think for a moment about this. Now, granted he’s got presidential power. If he wants to clear us into Reagan National, if he wants to send a car for us and get us from the airport to the White House, he can do all of that — and he did, and he was willing.
But the fact was that this is what he wanted, but not for him, you see? It was for me, and he wasn’t going to let me talk myself out of it. Part of me is not wanting to create any problems for him. I mean, he’s got so many more important things to do than deal with logistics, and I told him. He said, “You think I’m gonna do it? I’ve got people here! What do you mean? I’m gonna call a guy here; in an hour, all this will be done. All you gotta do is find a way to get the clothes.”
So Kathryn… (chuckling) This was amazing too. Kathryn got in gear and (again, without divulging too much), we went and met the doctor. We kept the appointment at noon to discuss what was gonna happen. We signed the papers, get as much of the procedure out of the way as we could, and then tell the doctor, “Hey, I have been summoned to Washington. Can this be moved to tomorrow?”
“Sure! It’s not a problem. In fact, show up at 5:30 tomorrow morning before anybody else gets here. We’ll get it started; we’ll get it rolling.” Everybody was just as cooperative and helpful as they could be. We get back from the meeting with the doctors in about two hours, and in our hotel room is 15 sport coats of different sizes, four or five different ties, a bunch of shirts of different sizes, and all I had to do was try on various things and find an outfit that fit. I did have…
I take it back. I did have a pair of slacks ’cause it was cold where we went; so I wasn’t wearing slacks and shorts, wasn’t able to. But I did wear slacks. The slacks come from the suit. We were even looking at sending the plane down to Florida to get my suit and a tie, but I couldn’t because it was on the way to Missouri. So, anyway, Kathryn had arranged for a bunch of stuff to be delivered from local retail outlets, including for her.
She had nothing, either, nothing that would be suitable for the House Chamber. (interruption) Pardon me? (interruption) Yeah, it was stuff off the rack. What are you gonna do? There was no time for a tailor. There’s no time for a seamstress. Yeah. That’s why there were 15 different sport coats, Mr. Snerdley. That’s why there are four or five different shirts with different neck sizes, sleeve lengths.
I told ’em what I wear, but you never know from manufacturer to manufacturer, brand to brand. Nothing’s consistent in clothes. There was only one of the whatever it was, 10 or 15 — only one that fit. There was only one that I could button. The sleeve length was perfect but only one that I could button. (interruption) What do you mean? You’re used to what “over here on the other side of the glass”? (interruption) Oh, you’re used to off the rack?
Look, I don’t have a tailor either! What, you think I have somebody who makes me suits? When’s the last time you saw me in a suit? It was in December and that’s an off-the-rack suit. I haven’t bought a suit in 10 years ’cause I don’t like clothes shopping precisely because nothing does fit off the rack. I got better things to do than sit there and be measured three or four times to get it right.
What was somewhat miraculous about this is that Kathryn got enough delivered that something worked. When I saw the ties, I said, “These are the dullest ties. I don’t wear invisible ties like these!” They said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but this is how they interpreted what you said you want.” It turned out to be perfect! The tie turned out to be the perfect color for what was to come later. Anyway, I gotta take a break.
There’s still a lot to this story, and there’s more than I can tell you today about Donald Trump and who he is and why he’s unbeatable, folks. He’s indomitable. These clowns, the Democrats, still have no idea what they’re up against. They haven’t the slight idea. There’s nobody — there is nobody in the Democrat Party, there’s nobody in American politics — that even comes close to the personality and the overall attitude towards life of Donald Trump. Incredible.