Fox News host Megyn Kelly has accused Donald Trump of preferring “safe spaces” like her colleague Sean Hannity’s show in favor of facing actual “journalists” who might confront him on the issues.
Well, there is apparently no safer space for Trump than Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
With two weeks to go until Election Day, Trump called into The Rush Limbaugh Show from Miami on Tuesday, where he said he had just come from a couple of of “voting areas” there that were “packed” with people wearing his signature red “Make America Great Again” hats.
Increasingly, Trump has been relying on visuals like this and the size of his rally crowds to convince both himself and others that he still has a chance to beat Hillary Clinton. And Limbaugh was more than willing to meet him halfway.
After helping his guest get in some talking points about what a “disaster” Obamacare is, Limbaugh began to lay on the flattery as thickly as he could muster. “There's not one thing going wrong in this country they can blame you for, and yet they're trying to tell everybody that you're the one not qualified, that you're the one not fit,” he told Trump. “What has this been like for you personally? I mean, you're a winner. You're somebody that's won everything that you've done.”
Appearing to reference the nearly one dozen accusations of sexual assault against the Republican nominee, Limbaugh asked, “These kinds of assaults, I don't think people understand the impact on a family or even an individual, when the kitchen sink is thrown at them as has been thrown at you.”
This gave Trump the chance to go after the “vicious” reporters at The New York Times, who he said are openly spreading “lies” about him. “These are lying people, and, you know, fortunately I can defend myself,” he added. Without provided evidence, he accused the media of promoting “phony polls” that show him losing.
“You take a look at the lines in Florida, they're unbelievable what's going on,” Trump said, again pointing to something he could see with his own eyes instead of trusting scientific polling from the media. “So we'll see what happens, but these are bad people, Rush, and, I mean, you've dealt with them for a long time, but they're bad. They're bad and very evil people.”
Repeatedly during the interview, Trump appeared to think their phone call had been cut off, saying “Hello?” and at one point screaming, “Steve, get me a phone, quick!” presumably to his campaign CEO Steve Bannon. During one break in the conversation, Limbaugh mused aloud how how Trump is “breathing rarefied air” and fretted that he wouldn’t be able to get his guest back on the phone.
The candidate did seem to express a bit of introspection when Limbaugh asked him why he continues to speak about the accusations against him, even attacking the women directly, instead of sticking to the issues.
“Well, I never like it when they tell me that, and I'm sure they're right, but when people say things that are fabrication — you know, there were fabricated stories made up, these were fabrications,” he told Limbaugh. “You know what I'm talking about.”
As he boasted about the size of his rally crowds, Limbaugh asked what he says to those who say that is not the best measure of who is going to win the election. “I don't believe it,” he said, adding that his crowds have been bigger for longer than those of Mitt Romney in 2012. “I've heard that theory, and you know what? Maybe it's right. I don't know. I'll let you know around the 9th. I'll let you know right after the election. But nobody's ever had crowds like we're having. It's a movement.”
Trump later acknowledged that he almost certainly needs to win the state of Florida in order to beat Hillary Clinton, something that is looking very unlikely according to most major polls. But do not fear, Trump assured Limbaugh, “I think so far we're doing very well.” While the latest poll “came out even,” he said, “at the voting booth we're killing it.” He added, “Look, I think there are a lot of people out there that aren't being polled.”
Before signing off for good, Trump told Limbaugh, “We'll speak later on in two weeks and we'll say, well, we were right or we were wrong.”
One word that did not come up once in their sixteen and a half minute conversation? “Rigged.” Perhaps both men have realized that whining about a rigged election before it’s over only makes Trump look like a loser. And at least in Rush Limbaugh’s world, Trump is still a “winner.”