RUSH: Could you imagine what it’s like to be Jeb Bush today? Who knew — (laughing) I’m sorry, folks. “She’s a bigot!” Who knew. First they tried Marco Rubio. They tried the Gang of Eight. They tried Jeb Bush. They tried any number of people to convince — they tried me! They sent emissaries to the EIB Network Southern Command. They tried everybody they could think of to try to convince the Republican base to support some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, and — (laughing) — sorry — who knew — (laughing) — I know it frustrates you to hear me laughing. Sorry.
Let me regain my composure. Who knew that it would be Donald Trump to come out and convert the GOP base to supporting amnesty the same week Ann Coulter’s book comes out. Poor Ann. Oh, my God, she’s got this book In Trump We Trust, and in it she says the only thing, the only thing that could cause Trump any trouble whatsoever is if he flip-flops on abortion or on immigration, goes amnesty. It looks like he’s getting close to it, and she’s just beside herself with this. I mean, what timing.
She’s on CNN today, and the subject in the roundtable is Trump’s near flip-flop, not all there yet, but near flip-flop on amnesty and this whole notion that he’s softening his position on immigration. They asked her to explain what Trump’s doing. And she said (paraphrasing), “Well, he hasn’t changed his thinking on this. He’s just changing the words that he’s using.” I stared at the TV, and there were four other people on the panel, and they started laughing and tried to stop. They started smirking. They had to go to a commercial break early ’cause nobody could keep up straight face. (paraphrasing) “No, no, no, he’s not changing what he thinks at all. He’s just changing the words that he is using.” Well, we’ll get into great detail that only we can do here at the EIB Network and offer the perspective that only we can offer.
RUSH: Okay. Now, some of you might be a little perplexed at my comment about Trump being the Republican to come along and convert the Republican base to supporting amnesty. We will explain this as the this program unfolds. I’m gonna tell you, Ted Cruz and the Cruz supporters are all over the place out there, in Politico. Cruz is saying (paraphrasing), “We told you, we told you, we told you that every Trump policy has an expiration date, and it looks like Trump’s immigration policy has just expired and he is now adopting the policy that we all had.”
But it all leads to the question: Will this cause a problem with Trump supporters? I’ve done an informal survey here, and apparently it won’t. That’s why I say, who knew that it would be Donald Trump to come along and convert the GOP base to supporting amnesty? I don’t see a lot of people preparing to abandon Trump over this. Maybe Coulter. Who knows what she’s gonna do. I mean, her book hits, and it’s just had the rug pulled out from under it.
What else? There’s number of other aspects about this. Let me take a break and give myself time on the other side of this to keep going, but hang in there, folks, because we are just cracking the lid now. We’ll see what’s inside.
RUSH: Speaking of Trump, here’s the Katrina Pierson sound bite that I mentioned. It was on CNN this morning and here’s who was on the panel. It was Amanda Cooper (she used to work for Cruz, she was communications director) and Erica Hill. There were two others there. Maybe three. A total of five people, including Katrina Pierson. And they all were on at the same time with head shots. And the question was, “Katrina, how do you square those two?
“[Trump] said … and I’m quoting, ‘I just want to follow the law. We’ll work with them,'” meaning the illegal immigrants. Which everybody up to now thought he’s gonna deport ’em. I mean, he’s saying, “They gotta go. They gotta go.” What people don’t know, may not remember — and I’m remind you — is that Trump has said they’re gonna come back. But he has made it plain that they’re gonna be deported. So Katrina Pierson was asked to explain what all this is.
PIERSON: He hasn’t changed his position on immigration. He’s changed the words that he is saying.
PIERSON: What he has always said is that he does not —
PIERSON: No. He does not want to allow people to stay in this country illegally. He does want to build a wall —
CARPENTER: Just got ten feet shorter, though!
PIERSON: — but he wants to work with Congress to get it done, and that’s exactly what he has said from the beginning.
RUSH: You hear that. They were smirking, they were laughing, they were having trouble keeping straight faces when she said, “He hasn’t changed his position, he’s changed the words.” And then she tried to explain what she means and they laughed even more because somebody then spoke up and said, “Katrina, he has said, ‘Get them out.’ He’s been very clear about his position. This is a change; this is a shift; this is a flip-flop; it’s an evolution. Whatever words you want to use.”
PIERSON: No, Erica. It’s the “how” that’s being discussed now. He’s always said, “If they’re here illegally, they have to go.” He’s always said that.
HILL: Before he talked about the how. He said there would be a deportation force. So now he is shifting. Katrina, there is a definite different message that we’re hearing now.
PIERSON: There’s not a different message. He’s using different words to give that message —
RUSH: Okay, her point is nothing’s changed here. He’s just changing the words, and he’s trying to soften the way his policy sounds to people. But all he’s gonna do is what he’s always said he’s gonna do: He’s gonna enforce the law. (summarized) “If they’re here illegally, they’re gonna go, they gotta go, they gotta go. They’re gonna come back but they gotta go, and we’re gonna build a wall and Mexico’s gonna pay for it.” That’s basically where it is right now.
RUSH: From the Washington Post: “Trump ‘Softening’ on Immigration? Many of His Supporters Don’t Seem to Mind.” That’s the headline. “Trump has been signaling for days that he might be open to a ‘softening’ of one of his most extreme immigration positions and no longer call for the deportation of an estimated 11 million immigrants who are living in the United States illegally.
“He and his aides seemed to be testing the waters, setting off alarm bells among some conservatives who have rallied around his hard-line immigration stance. But judging from many rally-goers here in Tampa on Wednesday and at an event Tuesday in Austin, many rank-and-file voters will give Trump relatively broad latitude to alter the parameters of his immigration policies.”
That’s a wordy way of saying that Trump’s supporters are not going to sell him out. Trump’s supporters are not gonna abandon him on this. They’re not going to be talked into abandoning Trump. They’re not gonna believe what other people say in analyzing Trump about what he means. They’re gonna continue to believe Trump. And Trump is saying, “My position hasn’t changed, none whatsoever. We’re gonna enforce the law. If they’re here illegally, we’re gonna send ’em back.”
I’ve been trying to think if I can ever recall a presidential candidate anywhere turning to the audience at a rally or anywhere and asking, taking a poll what his audience thinks that he ought to do. I’m used to candidates who know what their policy is and telling the audience what it is and trying to persuade the audience to understand it, agree with it, and help the candidate promote it.
In this case Trump turned to the audience in the town hall and said, “What do you think?” And a form of chaos ensued, because there was massive disagreement among the audience members of this town hall. But, you still have to remind yourself that Trump is outside the normal parameters of what people expect politics to be. Therefore, what happened last night with Hannity is, as far as Trumpers are concerned, no big deal, no big deal. This is all about standing out and being different from the scripted playbook of American politics.
So who cares if Trump turned around and asked the crowd what they think he ought to do. We like that. That’s refreshing, they say. Here’s a candidate who cares what we think. Here’s a candidate who’s willing to factor what we think into this before he makes his decision. Here’s a candidate willing to talk to us about his policy.
So whereas the traditional blue-blood establishment types are looking at this, “Oh, my God, this is a disaster. You don’t do this. You don’t do a town hall, turn to the crowd, and ask ’em what they think.” People in Trump world don’t see it that way at all, or many don’t. There might be some who think, “That makes me uncomfortable. The guy doesn’t seem sure of himself.” And then the chaos, I mean, the chaos did ensue, a mild form of chaos, meaning there were disagreements even among the audience. And they had to expend a little effort in getting things back under control.
Still, there is no doubt that Trump is trying to change the way he is perceived on this issue. And people are eagle-eyeing this and asking themselves if this is going to have a killer impact on his campaign, because immigration is viewed as the one issue, the issue that has made Trump, the issue that separated him from the pack. And if there is the slightest doubt among his supporters, the slightest fear that Trump is gonna abandon his long-held position on this in any meaningful way, then what will they do?
RUSH: Here’s Scott in Houston, as we start on the phones. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello, sir.
RUSH: Wait a second, now. Wait, wait, wait just second. Because let me rephrase here so people know what you’re talking about. On the town hall last night on Fox, during the discussion of immigration and deportation and, quote/unquote, amnesty, Trump turned to the crowd — it’s a town hall meeting — and asked them what they think he ought to do. And you’ll have to admit that a mild form of chaos ensued because there was disagreement among the crowd, and it looked for a while like they had lost control of the show.
Now, I’ve had people — just so you know, Scott — tell me… It’s all anecdotal, just to give you something to bounce off of here. A lot of people tell me they don’t like that. They don’t want a candidate that turns to the audience and asks what he should do. They want a candidate who knows what he’s gonna do, is confident about it, and is out trying to persuade other people to agree with him. But you are making my point. Trump turns to the people, “Hey, what do you…” And they love it. They actually love it because that to them is Trump listening to them because he cares. Right?
CALLER: Exactly. I had tears in my eyes. That’s “we, the people.” It’s our country. It’s fascinating that they’re not even covering that. That’s ground shaking, you know?
RUSH: Right. And so I happened to mention it because I have… Well, I knew it was important, I knew it’s a big deal, and that’s why you think… I’m the only show here where you heard this mentioned, right?
CALLER: Rush, you have been in my life over 25 years, and I could start crying but yes, man, thank you for everything that you have taught me — I mean, all my life. This three hours that I spend at work when I listen to you is the only time of day that life makes sense, because people can’t sleep today. You see what’s going on. I have a 10-year-old daughter. The America I grew up in? I want her to grow up in that, and they’re changing it. Change? You don’t change the Constitution. I want everything that I had, for my daughter to have.
RUSH: Scott, I’m glad you called, and I thank you very much. You’ve been out there for 20 years, and it’s obviously paid off for you. It’s obviously been very beneficial. You’re extremely informed, highly passionate, and very articulate. I’m honored to have you out there.
RUSH: Back to the audio sound bites here. Let’s pick up at number two here, because this is the Drive-Bys at the Fox Business Network actually talking about my theory on Trump supporters and how they are immune to any criticism from the left and how they are glued to Trump and what it will be, if anything, that will cause them to abandon him. I don’t think there is much of anything that will make that happen for a host of reasons, but we’ll start here with David Asman, last night on the Fox Business show, After the Bell.
ASMAN: While the mainstream media is predicting that a Trump shift on immigration’s gonna hurt him with his base, Rush Limbaugh today said such talk is just wishful thinking on their part.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Trump supporters don’t care what he does or what he says because there is no way they are going to do anything that helps elect Hillary Clinton.
RUSH: Now, a lot of people have taken that and said, “You mean they primarily support Trump because they oppose Hillary?” No, no. Although there is some of that. I’m just here telling you that there is a significant number of Trump supporters who do not want Hillary Clinton to become president. They’re not gonna abandon Trump if it means that.
Now, if you asked them — see, this is what nobody’s asking. You Drive-Bys, if you want to get to the bottom of this, let me tell you what to ask these people. Don’t ask ’em if they’re gonna abandon Trump. Don’t ask them that. You go ask them if you think this is hurting his chances to win. Because that’s what the Trump supporters all want. They want him to win. “Why” is what you all have to learn. There are those of us who know why Trump supporters want him to win. People in the establishment I think are still in various stages of denial about people outside the establishment, their view of it.
But if you want to do man-on-the-street interviews with Trumpists, don’t ask them if they’re getting upset or if they will turn on Trump or abandon Trump. Go ask them instead, “Is any of this making you worried that it’s hurting his chances to win?” And there you will get far more interesting answers, in my humble opinion. But it is a waste of time to even speculate, much less ask these Trump people straight on, “So Trump is flip-flopping on abortion. Trump’s flipping flopping on immigration. It’s ready bad, are you going to abandon him?” You’re never gonna get the answer you want there.
But if you ask ’em, “Are you getting worried that he’s hurting his chances to win?” You Drive-Bys, you might be more intrigued by those answers if you approach it that way. Same show, David Asman speaking with a Republican fundraiser, Noelle Nikpour and a Democrat strategist named Steve Murphy, about me and my comments that Trump’s softening on immigration won’t cause him to lose too many followers.
Asman plays the clip of me from yesterday’s show, and then he says, “So, can Trump soften his views on immigration and still hold on to his base? Noelle, Rush thinks it won’t hurt him with his base. What do you think?”
NIKPOUR: I think two things. Number one, if you replace the word “softening” on immigration and replace it with something like “reasonable” immigration, I think when anyone runs for an office they need to make bullet points. And his claim to fame was the wall and keeping out the bad guys, not keeping out everybody that wants to come to this country. So I think the fact that, you know, he says he wants to soften it up a bit is only talking about people that, you know, are here legally, that are in the country, that have businesses, that are already established.
Look, I’ve been there, folks. I’ve been there with Perotistas. You couldn’t talk a Perot supporter out of supporting Perot no matter what you did. I know, because I tried. What it finally took was Perot getting out of the race. There was nothing you could do, no matter what Perot said, no matter what changes in policy Perot announced or didn’t announce, whatever faux pas he might have made in a speech, didn’t matter, you weren’t gonna talk him out of it. And it’s the same thing here with the Trumpists, and I think it’s even stronger with the Trumpists.
Now, the other guest is the Democrat strategist Steve Murphy, and Asman said, “Okay, Steve, I want to talk about the sort of meme in the mainstream media is today, that somehow Trump’s gonna disillusioning his base by changing, by softening his views on immigration and Rush says, no, that base is so anti-Hillary, they’re not going to be shifted. What do you think?”
MURPHY: I think Rush is probably right. I don’t think his base is going anywhere. But it’s also not going to expand one bit, and that’s what he needs to do.
RUSH: Well, that’s what the Trumpists will tell you he is doing. That the, quote, unquote, softening is to expand the base of support. There’s no question. Look, folks, all I can tell you is that the polls are tightening,
RUSH: David Asman, back to the Republican fundraiser, Noelle Nikpour. “Noelle, it does appear that Trump has been improving a bit in the polls since he has begun to soften his tone. That means bringing in people other than just his base, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what it means?”
NIKPOUR: Yes, absolutely. I mean, he’s already got his loyal supporters, and that’s not gonna change and Rush is right. But where he needs to be presidential and appear a little bit, you know, down the middle, especially when he talks about immigration, this is where he’s winning over some of these Republicans that said Never Trump.
RUSH: See, that’s the side of this that few people are talking about. Wverybody’s focusing on, “My God, Trump is making fools of his supporters. Oh, my God, Trump is flip-flopping right in front of them. Oh, my God, Trump’s making fools.” No, Trump’s actually maybe building his base a little bit, possibly.
I mean, the polling data is all over the place. I mean, you can find a poll that shows Trump losing ground. You can find Hillary winning in double-digit landslides. But if you take the aggregate, you see them close. Well, not close. But they’re getting tighter. Hillary’s losing a little over here, Trump’s gaining a little over there, and particularly in the battleground states.