Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News on Wednesday to break his weeks-long media silence and pay tribute to Rush Limbaugh, who died at 70. And of course, the disgraced ex-president found the time to peddle the lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him.
Making his first television appearance since before the Jan. 6 insurrectionist Capitol riots, the former president spent much of the first half of his phone interview with Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Harris Faulkner eulogizing Limbaugh, heaping praise on the right-wing icon while discussing the Presidential Medal of Freedom he bestowed upon the talk-radio star.
Eventually, however, Trump turned the conversation back to his favorite topic: himself.
He specifically noted that Limbaugh “liked my rather controversial speech when we came down the escalator”—referencing his 2015 announcement that he was running for president. And after Trump waxed poetic about how much his dear friend Limbaugh admired him, Hemmer asked Trump what his conversations were like after he lost the election to President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has been kicked off of social media platforms for peddling the election disinformation that incited the Capitol insurrection, proceeded to invoke Limbaugh as yet another means to push his “Big Lie.”
“Rush thought we won, and so do I,” Trump exclaimed. “I think we won substantially. And Rush thought we won. He thought it was over at 10 o’clock; 10:30, it was over. A lot of other people feel that way, but Rush felt that way strongly.”
He continued: “Many people do. Many professionals do. I don’t think that could have happened to a Democrat. You would’ve had riots going all over the place if I happened to be a Democrat. We don’t have the same support of certain levels of the Republican system, but we have great people as Republicans.
“Rush felt we won. He was angry.”
After talking about how Limbaugh worked “so hard to get through the election,” despite being terminally ill with lung cancer, the ex-president was then asked if he knew what role Limbaugh envisioned Trump playing in the GOP moving forward.
“We didn’t talk much about that. I didn’t want to talk about that too much, either, because I was disappointed by voter tabulation,” Trump replied, veering back to his baseless claims of voter fraud. “I think it’s disgraceful what happened.”
He added: “We are like a third-world country on election night with the closing down of the centers and all of the things that happened late in the evening. He was furious, many people are furious. You don’t know how angry this country is. People were furious.”
Notably, while Fox News currently faces a $2.7-billion lawsuit from Smartmatic for pushing lies and conspiracy theories about the voting-systems company, neither host pushed back on Trump’s claims. Fox News, meanwhile, has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming it is “meritless” and would “stifle debate and chill vital First Amendment activities.”
The interview—which constituted the ex-president’s first live television call-in since his Nov. 29 chat with pro-Trump Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo—ended with the hosts noting that they only “have you for another minute or so” while asking him to weigh in on comments Limbaugh recently made about optimism in the face of death.
“Thank you for your time, sir. We’d love to have you back because we have a lot more ground to cover,” Hemmer noted in conclusion.
“It’s wonderful to have you here with your voice, Mr. President,” Faulkner added, wrapping up the segment.