Mr. Trump repaid Mr. Limbaugh’s fealty in an impromptu name on Wednesday to Fox News, praising him as “a great gentleman” who had “really got it.” The former president was considered one of a parade of Republican luminaries who issued tributes, an indication that Mr. Limbaugh’s incendiary historical past had performed little to dim his enchantment with conservatives. Former President George W. Bush weighed in, too, calling Mr. Limbaugh “a friend” who “spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans.”
Unlike Howard Stern, Don Imus and different massive names in shock radio, Mr. Limbaugh had no on-the-air sidekicks, although he had conversations with the unheard voice of somebody he known as “Bo Snerdly.” Nor did he have writers, scripts or outlines, simply notes and clippings from newspapers he perused every day.
Alone together with his multitudes in his studio, he joked, ranted, twitted and burst into track, mimicry or boo-hoos as “The Rush Limbaugh Show” beamed out over 650 stations of the Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia (previously Clear Channel Communications). In his alternate-universe-on-the-air, he was “El Rushbo” and “America’s Anchorman” within the “Southern Command” bunker of an “Excellence in Broadcasting” community.
To trustworthy “Dittoheads,” his defiantly self-mocking followers, he was an indomitable patriot, an icon of wit and knowledge. His political clout, they mentioned, lay within the reactions he provoked — avalanches of calls, emails and web site rage, headlines aplenty and the occasional reward or wrath from the White House and Capitol Hill.
To detractors he was a sanctimonious charlatan, essentially the most harmful man in America, a label he co-opted. And some critics insisted that he had no actual political energy, solely an intimidating, self-aggrandizing presence that swayed an growing old, ultraright fringe whose numbers, whereas spectacular, weren’t thought-about nice sufficient to have an effect on the end result of nationwide elections.
Married 4 instances and divorced 3 times with no youngsters, Mr. Limbaugh lived in his Palm Beach property surrounded by Oriental carpets, chandeliers and a two-story mahogany-paneled library with leather-bound collections. He had a half-dozen vehicles, one costing $450,000, and a $54 million Gulfstream G550 jet. He was recognized to drop $5,000 suggestions in eating places.