“He would just talk for two hours and three hours. Just talk,” Trump told Fox News of Limbaugh on Wednesday in his first remarks to the media since he left office last month. “And that’s not an easy thing to do.”
“People, whether they loved him or not, they respected him,” the former president added, coming just minutes after it was announced that Limbaugh had died. His wife confirmed his death—coming about a year after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Describing the radio host as a “very brave guy,” Trump recalled when he came down the escalator at the Trump Tower in New York City to announce his presidency in 2015, the former president said Limbaugh liked his speech and was “with me right from the beginning.”
Trump gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Limbaugh last year.
“Half the room went crazy,” the former president remarked of his presentation of the medal to Limbaugh during the Joint Session of Congress.
Other prominent Republicans reacted to his death.
“Rush Limbaugh was an icon, patriot, and American hero. No one fought harder for freedom and liberty. The greatest radio host of all-time will be missed by millions. God bless his family,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) writes on Twitter.
Added GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: “The conservative cause has lost an icon today. Rush Limbaugh was a true patriot who made immeasurable contributions to our national politics, inspiring millions of conservatives to join our movement. Please keep his wife Kathryn and his family in your prayers.”
On Twitter Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) notes: “Rush Limbaugh captivated audiences for decades. He was a fearless commentator, a conservative firebrand, and a patriot. A radio trailblazer, Rush gave a voice to those who lacked a voice in the national mainstream media. My thoughts & prayers are with his loved ones.”
Last December, Limbaugh seemingly reflected on his cancer diagnosis and predicted that he wouldn’t be around much longer to host his namesake program.
“I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December,” he said in December. “And yet, here I am and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today. … God knows how important this program is for me today.”
Limbaugh was born in 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He had a long career in media, entering radio in 1971 after leaving college before hosting his own radio show for decades.