Conservative talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh interviewed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on air today, an unusual event for a host who has famously avoided interviewing politicians in the past. It has a point of pride for Limbaugh in years past that he does not fill his airtime with frequent guests or callers choosing instead to mostly focus on his signature monologue style. Interviews with political candidates, however prominent, are especially rare events on Limbaugh's program.
FILE - This May 14, 2012 file photo shows conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaking during a ceremony inducting him into the Hall of Famous Missourians in the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, Limbaugh won the Children�s Choice Book Award for author of the year for his best-selling �Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims." (AP Photo/Julie Smith, File)
However, today Limbaugh had on Donald Trump for an extended chat that was made longer due to repeated technical difficulties with their telephone connection. According to a transcript released by Limbaugh, the interview was almost entirely non-confrontational, which is perhaps unsurprising given the close friendship Limbaugh and Trump have enjoyed for years. As one sample of the questions on offer:
RUSH: Well, you know, the former head of the Democrat National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is out there saying, "Oh, no. It's been much worse. Bush was destroying the health care system. Obamacare, all it's like doing is keeping prices from going up more rapidly." I mean, it's frustrating, Mr. Trump, because their fingerprints, as I say, are all over this. If anybody, in my estimation, is disqualified from having anything further to do with this nation's economy or health care or immigration, it's the Democrat Party. And you have absolutely... 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. What has this been like for you personally? I mean, you're a winner.
Limbaugh further offered Trump the opportunity to expound on his theory that his crowd sizes indicate an impending victory on Election Day:
RUSH: It really is. I was gonna tell you before we got disconnected the last time, you see your crowds, you know how many people are showing up, I think there are millions more people than you even know behind you, praying for you, urging you on, hoping and praying you win. It's phenomenal the kind of support you have behind you, despite the best efforts to suppress it, and those efforts are being made. I think it's profound, the number of people.
TRUMP: Well, they're doing a tremendous suppression effort, but so far I will tell you, when you look at where the voting booths are, you know, the voters, we pass, I told you before, we passed three of them. They're two and three blocks long of people standing there waiting to vote, and four years ago they'd have two people in the room and everybody's falling asleep. The voting -- the lines are unbelievable getting into the polling places and the voting booths. So, you know, hopefully that's a great sign, and these I think are real Trump people. These are people that want to see America be great again. That's what it's all about.
For his part, Trump has made himself largely unavailable to traditional press outlets for direct interviews for over three months. Trump's last press conference was on July 27th, during the Democratic National Convention. Since then, he has granted interviews almost exclusively to Fox News personalities, including multiple interviews with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.