Declaring himself “healed” from the coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Friday did a two-hour appearance on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, during which he attacked the Justice Department, Hillary Clinton, Fox News and mail-in ballots, and dropped an F-bomb while talking about Iran.
The president sounded short of breath a few times at the start of the lengthy phone-in appearance of what had been billed as a “guest hosting” role, but sounded steadier as the program went on. The conservative commentator welcomed Trump to his “radio rally” with audio of a crowd chanting, “We love you!”
Trump, who tested positive for the coronavirus a week earlier, said doctors were initially more concerned about his prognosis than they’ve said publicly.
“They said you were very bad,” Trump said. “This looked like it was going to be a big deal. And you know what that means.”
He touted the medication. “I was in not great shape and we have a medicine that healed me, that fixed me,” he said, adding that he had “a little lingering thing” afterwards. He said he’s now not on any drug treatment.
Limbaugh also asked the president about a report in Axios that Attorney General William Barr told top Republicans that a review into the origins of the Russia investigation won’t be completed before the election, and that they shouldn’t expect any new indictments before then either.
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Trump complained about the lack of indictments against Obama officials as a result of the Russia investigation, and said Barr has “all the information he needs” and would be remembered as a “sad case” if he didn’t act.
Trump told Limbaugh that if the Axios report is accurate, “I’m very disappointed. I think it’s a terrible thing, and I’ll say it to his face,” referring to Barr.
The president, who said the United States’ nuclear program “is all tippy-top now,” also cursed while discussing Iranian sanctions in the nationally-broadcast interview.
“They’ve been put on notice. If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before. And they understand that,” Trump said.
The president also continued his whipsaw approach to another coronavirus relief package, saying “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package, frankly, than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering. I’m going to the exact opposite now, OK? I mean, I’m telling you this. I’m telling you something I don’t tell anybody else, because maybe it helps, or maybe it hurts negotiations. I would like to see a bigger package.”
He’d tweeted earlier this week that he was ending talks with the Democrats on another stimulus package until after the election.
Much of the rest of the interview was dedicated to Trump re-airing now familiar complaints.
Rival Joe Biden “is out of it” and “in no condition to be a candidate,” while 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted for her deleted emails, Trump said.
He also complained about mail-in voting (“Who are they sending them to? Where are they going?”), the mainstream media and even Fox News, where he was interviewed yesterday and was scheduled to make another appearance Friday night.
“Fox is a whole different ballgame. Fox is a much different thing than it was four years ago,” he complained. “They’re going the way of CNN. They’re going the way of the MSDNC,” he said, using his nickname for MSNBC. “And, it’s a shame; I mean, it’s a shame.”
He then added that “Fox is 50 percent of what they were … [but] that’s still better than nothing.”
Trump, who Thursday backed out of next week’s presidential debate because he didn’t want to appear virtually, didn’t indicate any interest in revisiting that decision, telling Limbaugh, “I don’t think the debates mean that much” but added that, “I’ve done well with debates.”
Throughout the interview, Limbaugh repeatedly praised the president and urged his listeners to vote for him.
“If you love this country,” Limbaugh said, “you have no choice but to vote for” Trump.
Trump is close with Limbaugh, a conservative commentator with a long history of racist, sexist and homophobic remarks. The president awarded Limbaugh the country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, days after Limbaugh announced he’d been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
Trump called Limbaugh “a special man” and thanked him for his “tireless devotion to our country.”