Trump Awards Rush Limbaugh Highest Civilian Honor During SOTU - WATCH
Conservative radio icon receives Presidential Medal of Freedom in emotional surprise
During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced he was honoring Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Conservative radio icon Limbaugh, 69, is known to be a friend of the president and was seated in the gallery next to First Lady Melania Trump during the speech at the U.S. Capitol.
On his nationally syndicated talk radio show, Limbaugh announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer.
“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today,” Limbaugh said during the live broadcast.
“I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this.
“But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
In a surprise announcement, during his SOTU address, President Trump revealed that a visibly stunned Rush Limbaugh was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest honor to be bestowed on a civilian.
The award was clearly an emotional moment, coming just one day after Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis.
"Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness," the president said during his speech.
"Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis.
"This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet," Trump told the radio legend, who appeared to be in tears.
"Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country."
"Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our Nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"I will now ask the First Lady of the United States to present you with the honor."
Melania Trump then presented the award to an emotional Limbaugh and placed the medal on him.
"Rush and Kathryn, congratulations," Trump added.
The White House had announced Limbaugh as a guest of the president earlier Tuesday.
Limbaugh started his nationally syndicated radio show 30 years ago and is considered one of the most influential conservative pundits in the U.S.
He began “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in 1988 and has since earned a variety of awards and honors.
He’s a five-time winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for “Excellence in Syndicated and Network Broadcasting,” a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
He also was named one of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People in 2008 and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009.
Many people do not know what a great guy & fantastic political talent the great Rush Limbaugh is. There is nobody like him. Looking for a speedy recovery for our friend! https://t.co/GRTt56BjEu— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2020
Limbaugh has been named to Forbes Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Celebrities in the United States list, received the William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for media excellence, won the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC] in 2009 and was invited to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House by President George H. W. Bush.
He also was an honorary member of the House of Representatives Republican freshman class of 1995.