Why I Was All In on the Day Trump Announced

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RUSH: This is Gil in Philadelphia. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hi.

CALLER: Rush, I know that you’ve known Donald Trump for quite a while. During the primaries, I was not in favor of Trump at all. As a matter of fact, you might even say I voted for him reluctantly. But, since that time, I have come to believe that he is a gift from God. It’s an act of God’s providence that this man… Who else would have the personality, the energy, the stamina, and the policies that we need so desperately? I’m just thankful he’s there. Well, my question is: I know you’ve known him awhile. Did you have any inclination ahead of time that he was going to be this great of a president?

RUSH: Well, I’ll tell you, I’d love to answer this question thoroughly for you, and I’m probably gonna have to extend the answer beyond the break at the bottom of the hour, so continue to listen. The short answer to your question — and then I’m gonna go back and add to it — is the speech that he gave announcing his candidacy, when he came down the escalator. I just want to tell everybody: At that moment, I was all-in.

But, at that moment, I didn’t know if he was serious. Nobody… We need to go back and relive that moment and remind everybody of some of the things that Trump said, because when you look back at this now in a historical way, it is unbelievable what happened. He comes down the escalator — and, of course, the primary issue that he lit everyone up with was illegal immigration.

Do you remember his detailed description of the illegal immigrants coming into the country specifically from Mexico and Central America? Do you remember him detailing their characteristics? Rapists, murderers, criminals, drug pushers, drug addicts. I mean, he spared no expense — and I’ll never forget the reaction to this. I was watching.

When he finished that speech, you turned to CNN, you turned to Fox — turn anywhere — and everybody was laughing themselves silly. They were a combination of appalled at the language, appalled at what he had said about those people, and at the same time laughing. Because it was. It was hilarious. At that time, virtually everybody on any news network commenting on this believed he was not serious, that there was something else going on.

There was some other reason Trump was doing it. It was either a slick promotional vehicle for a new season of The Apprentice or some new TV show or some new thing that he was gonna do. But nobody thought that anybody serious about running for president would ever come down an escalator and say the things that he said. I, too, was laughing, but not at him. I was laughing with him. But I knew that he was serious. I knew that he meant it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I just saw an interview with Tom Brokaw. He says the current media is destructive. It’s doing nothing but spending 24/7 talking about what’s ticking people off. And he started lamenting the fact — this blew me away – he says you go back and look at Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was able to unify the country, unify the people of the country after the Vietnam War and after all this. Reagan was able to unify? In what universe? I mean, he got a 49-state landslide. He unified the country. The press hated his guts just like they hate Trump. Brokaw doesn’t remember that?

Anyway, he thinks the press is very destructive right now. Too many voices, you don’t know what’s true. You just have no idea what’s true anymore. And there isn’t any unity and no common set of this, common set of that. I have printed it. I’m gonna get into more detail of it next week when we get back.

To finish this answer on Trump, I reminded some people in the Trump White House of this, ’cause I think, to them, Trump’s campaign in 2015, in 2016 is so long ago. It’s only three or four years ago, but it is a lifetime ago. And they are focused on a reelection campaign now that has a completely different set of issues, events, parameters, you name it.

But I wanted to remind ’em what they pulled off. I want you to stop and think about this, folks. A guy from outside the political spectrum. I actually think Trump is the embodiment, by the way, of one of the tenets of the American dream, that anybody can do anything in this country. It’s one of the things that official Washington hates about him. He’s not from them. He’s not from their world.

And their world is a very exclusionary and exclusive world. And if you’re not in it, you don’t get to be in it. And you certainly don’t succeed in it if you try. And here he comes and mops the floor with all of them. They’re very protective of their club, their world. And the fact that Trump was able to get elected, which is a public referendum, you know, an election is, on one level, an expression of national popularity.

It’s just set them on their heels. They still haven’t been able to get over it. But Trump doing it should tell any of you that you can do anything you want in this country, that it is possible. It may be hard, and it may be unlikely, and it may be something really against the odds, but it can be done. I think it’s the quintessential illustration of what many people think the American dream is. Because the conventional wisdom is there’s no way somebody like Donald Trump should get past first base in a presidential election.

But he hit a home run.

But go back to that trip down the escalator. Think about the things that he said about illegal immigrants. Think about the way he described them. Now, he described them in language very common to everybody who thinks negatively or has this same attitude about illegal immigration. People are worried about it. It’s not a race issue for people. People are worried about the destruction to our culture, lack of assimilation, the rule of law.

I mean, these are people breaking the law. Nobody seems to care. The rule of law matters. Why are we looking the other way? Why are we letting this bunch of people get away with breaking the law? Everybody knows ’cause it’s a Democrat voter registration plan. So Trump comes down the escalator and doesn’t hold back. And he got elected.

After that day, I will guarantee you not a single person in the Drive-By Media or political class who watched his announcement thought he had even the serious intent to get elected. Nobody would ever say those things about people if they really intended to win. He said ’em, and he got elected.

And there’s one other example of this. The Access Hollywood tape, which NBC had for the longest time, they held it and they held it and they held it. They finally released it, and it came out in October. There’s nobody in politics who’d ever survive that, on top of everything else. And I told the people in the Trump campaign, don’t forget that. You got elected. There’s a reason why. There’s a reason why you got elected saying those things, describing that issue the way you did.

There’s a reason why you got elected. It did not hurt the electoral effort. For reasons I can’t divulge simply ’cause of privacy, I had an inkling that Trump was gonna do this years in advance. I didn’t know when. Don’t misunderstand. But when I saw him make those speeches, the comments, I waited, I’ll be honest, I was all-in that day. And I had a lot of friends of mine thinking I was nuts, because the ideal conservative candidates would have been Rubio or Cruz.

And going all-in for Trump, a lot of people who now love the guy hated his guts after that escalator speech for a host of reasons. When I saw the first polls taken after that escalator speech — and they were about two weeks after — and I saw that Trump was at 38%, I just kind of smiled, and I said, “He’s going to win.” And I told anybody here in the studio that I thought he was gonna win, when I saw the first wave of polls after the escalator speech.

And when the Access Hollywood video happened, my concern was that there would be people in his campaign that would abandon him over that. So I fired off to a couple people that I knew — and I didn’t know a whole lot of people in the campaign — but I fired off a note. “Whatever you do, do not let this change anything you’re doing.”

I said, “The American people are fed up with these October Surprises. They are fed up! This stuff has been out there for all of these years, and they just now release it? The American people are fed up with their election being tampered with by these stupid October Surprises. They’ve had it. It isn’t going to work.” I said, “Do not worry about this. It isn’t gonna work.” I don’t know if they listened to me or not.

But I do know that in the last debate with Hillary Clinton, what did Trump do? He brought all Bill Clinton’s women in and put ’em in the front row — and I said, “This is over.” So the short answer to your question is, “Yeah. Not only was I an early-on supporter, I was confident he was gonna win.” But, see, I have an advantage over all the other people on cable TV. They have no idea who the American people really are. The American people are not their audience.

But the American people are my audience. I have a similar bond with the people in this audience that Trump has with his supporters. It enabled me to be confident, feel confident he was gonna win, and that the traditional things that happen in a campaign that cause a candidate to lose support were not gonna cause him to lose support, because he was that different. He represented something desperately needed at the time.

It wasn’t just that he was an outsider, but that was a big deal. It was a massive assist for him in terms of people viewing his qualifications: The fact that he was an outsider, not part of the swamp, not part of the age-old problem. People were frustrated and fed up. They’d be told one thing during campaigns, and then the people telling them what they want to hear during campaigns — after getting elected — would never follow through on it once they were in office.

So, yeah, it never entered my field of vision that Trump was or was not a conservative. That was not a factor. I knew. If you’d listen to him, he was not a liberal. You could tell who he thought the, quote-unquote, “enemies” were. You could tell who he thought the opposition was. It was the same people I think are the opposition. The people that he wanted to defeat are the same people I think need to be defeated — and that added up to a great common bond.

I’ve known Trump for a long time. He’s not a conservative ideologue, but he has instincts, and he lives his life as though he is one. The fact that he doesn’t know who Edmund Burke is but lives his life as a conservative…? Which matters? To the Never Trumpers, the fact that Trump doesn’t know who Edmund Burke is disqualifies him.

Okay, so he doesn’t know intellectual conservative history. All that doesn’t matter to me. And he is following through. There hasn’t been one thing he’s done so far that has let me down, that’s had me saying, “Oh, damn it.” I haven’t had one reaction to anything he’s done, “Damn it, I got fooled. Damn it, this is not good. Damn it, I’m losing faith.” It has not happened. I don’t know about you, but it hasn’t happened with me.

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