RUSH: The New York Times today… Snerdley, have you seen this story? (interruption) Well, the headline is: “Trump Wanted a Radio Show, but He Didn’t Want to Compete With Limbaugh — President Trump said he envisioned a show running two hours a day,” during this period of time to get the word out, “according to White House officials, and would do it were it not for the risk of encroaching on Rush Limbaugh…”
He didn’t want to compete. This is an amazing story. There’s an obligatory two snarky paragraphs which tell lies about me, but it’s the New York Times; they have to be in there. That’s what I mean by “obligatory.”
But you know what it indicates is, what this story does indicate? That probably Donald Trump is one of the few who could fill my shoes. With proper training and proper instruction, I could see that. (laughing)
RUSH: So, I get up today — I’m minding my own business, bothering nobody — and I get a note. “Have you seen this?” And I hadn’t seen it. It’s a story in the New York Times by a writer named Elaina Plott (with two T’s on there, Plott) and the headline stuns me. Headline is: “Trump Wanted a Radio Show, but He Didn’t Want to Compete with Limbaugh.”
The subhead: “President Trump said he envisioned a show running two hours a day … and would do it were it not for the risk of encroaching on Rush Limbaugh…” You know, I would be more than happy. We’re always looking for guest hosts here. If the president wants to guest host this program one day, we’d be happy to run an audition.
I think there’d be nobody better to fill my shoes than Donald Trump. I’ve often said nobody could, but if anybody could, it would be him. Here’s what the story says, and it’s got a picture of the president and me it Trump rally in Cape Girardeau last November, the night before midterm elections. Well, it was 2018, not last year.
“On a Saturday in early March, [President] Trump, clad in a baseball cap, strode into the Situation Room for a meeting with the coronavirus task force. He didn’t stop by the group’s daily meetings often, but he had an idea he was eager to share: He wanted to start a White House talk radio show.” Can I make a brief…? I find it once again very pleasingly satisfying that a man who owns television wants to be on radio.
I will tell anybody who listens how I believe radio can achieve more intimacy and therefore more persuasion than television can. I will tell anybody who will listen that I believe that pictures on television can actually, if used incorrectly, be a distraction from what you’re trying to accomplish.
A great radio program or great radio host is an expert at helping the audience paint their own pictures, which are not distracting. Great radio is not passive listen; it is active. If it’s a good show, you’re not doing anything else while you’re listening to it. But with television, the vast majority of time TV’s on it’s in the background.
You’re doing many other things while watching TV, even if you’re sitting on a sofa looking directly at it, you are a still talking to somebody. You’re reading your phone, your iPad, you’re doing something. Very seldom — other than being totally engrossed in a movie or something — are you fully devoted to what’s on the tube.
It happens; don’t misunderstand. But with a good radio show, nothing else gets in the way. I find it fascinating. All of these successful television people want to get into radio. Now, there’s another reason why, too, that I will not discuss. I happen to know exactly what it is, but it’s not relevant in the president’s case.
“At the time, the virus was rapidly spreading across [the fruited plain], and Mr. Trump would soon announce a ban on European travel. A talk radio show, Mr. Trump excitedly explained” to the coronavirus task force, “would allow him to quell Americans’ fears and answer their questions about the pandemic directly, according to three White House officials who heard the pitch.
“There would be no screening, he said, just an open line for people to call and engage one-on-one with the president.” A-ha. Now we find out what the president is missing. He owns television, but he doesn’t feel he has a two-way, direct line to you. It’s an outgrowth of being frustrated at having everything he says mediated by the media, which is why he does as many live events as he can.
“But that Saturday, almost as suddenly as he proposed it, the president outlined one reason he would not be moving forward with it: He did not want to compete with Rush Limbaugh. No one in the room was sure how to respond” to this. “Someone suggested hosting the show in the mornings or on weekends, to steer clear of [Limbaugh]’s schedule.
“But Mr. Trump shook his head, saying he envisioned his show as two hours a day, every day. And were it not for Mr. Limbaugh, and the risk of encroaching on his territory… he would do it. One of the officials involved…” I’m telling you, we could work this out, don’t you think? If the president wants to do this — if he wants to come on and have a show — we’ll let him do it.
I won’t even be… If he wants to host it himself, he can do it. If he wants to do it for two hours — that’s what he said. If he wants to talk to you for two hours, he’s welcome to come here and do it anytime. At the same time, we could combine it with an audition. We could look at it as an audition as well. (interruption) Well, he lives right here.
But he would have to violate social distancing to get here. You might have to take a trip to the White House to set up the technicals. We’ll deal with that when it happens. “One of the officials involved directly in the effort said it wasn’t the first time Mr. Trump had discussed hosting a radio show from the White House.
“But if some in the room … were unsure whether the president’s proposal was a joke, they knew his deference to Mr. Limbaugh was” not a joke. “When it comes to the president’s favored media figures, most observers tend to fixate on the Fox News lineup of Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity,” who’s a very dear friend with the president.
“But several people close to Mr. Trump say that in the midst of a pandemic, he has come to keenly appreciate the extent of Mr. Limbaugh’s reach, and the fact that his show, perhaps more than any other source, offers a real-time metric of how the president’s decisions are playing with his supporters.
“Now, as multiple voices vie for the president’s ear on the appropriate timeline for America’s path to normalcy, Mr. Limbaugh is amplifying Mr. Trump’s instinct for swiftness. And for the president, as well as much of his party, Mr. Limbaugh’s affirmation remains a powerful motivator.
“‘Talk radio is still a powerhouse when it comes to Republican voters,’ said Jason Miller, co-host of the War Room podcast and a former Trump communications adviser. And the president, Mr. Miller said, ‘realizes how big a powerhouse Rush is.'”
The take-away here, folks — and we’re very flattered. But the take-away, the thing to really take away here… You know, I love radio, and I think it’s fascinating that so many people feel their careers are incomplete without giving radio a shot. Isn’t that fascinating, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption)
And there’s some other things. The story goes on for a while and talks about the current… I don’t want to read the whole thing to you. It goes on for two or three more printed pages and has some quotes from some other people. We, of course, have linked to it at RushLimbaugh.com.
RUSH: Now, we could do a town hall with the president on this program anytime he wants. I’m sure we could get clearance for it. We could do it noon to three for as long as he wants. He could have direct connect with you in the audience. You know, not a bunch of bureaucrat experts up on the stage, and certainly no journalists choosing the questions or any of that. We’ll do it in a different way than anybody’s ever done town halls or any of that stuff.
But I’m here making it known — and I will call later, too — but I’m doing it here, making it known that this program is available to the president if he wants to audition, if he wants to use it for a town hall, if he wants to have direct connect with you, that we got it handled. We know how to do that. We do it each and every day.