Thursday on his nationally syndicated radio show, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the speech given a night earlier by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention.
Limbaugh argued that Trump knew what Cruz was going to say, and thus pulled off a “masterful move” in trying to achieve party unity.
Partial transcript as follows:
One of the crucial things here that we have now learned about this is that Trump knew what Cruz was gonna say. Right? That story has been reported, that Cruz’s speech was submitted. Cruz has said that the Trump people knew what he was gonna say. The Trump people say that they knew what Cruz was gonna say. And everybody involved let it happen.
So what is the end result of this? There are two overwhelming, inarguable results from this. Number one, we’re gonna have a ratings bonanza tonight. And number two, we may be seeing the actual first threads of unity build behind Donald Trump because of this. And it could well be that Trump has pulled off a masterful move letting all this happen.
I think that the argument that he may have done that is sort of rubber-stamped by the fact that he walked in to that convention hall at the exact moment that he knew Cruz was gonna be unloaded on by the audience. He walked into that convention hall last night to his box at the exact moment that it was gonna become, it did become clear to everybody that Cruz was not gonna endorse.
Now, the key to all this is what has been reported, that everybody involved knew what Cruz was gonna say and thus everybody knew that Cruz was not gonna endorse. Now, I have warned everybody time and time again, you cannot judge, analyze, watch this convention through the regular political prism. In this case, what I mean by that is in a normal convention, that speech would never been allowed.
Ted Cruz, even if he had been invited to give that speech and had submitted that speech to the campaign, and the campaign had seen that speech and discovered that there wasn’t gonna be an endorsement. And, in fact, not only was there not gonna be an endorsement, there was gonna be something maybe even worse, and that was an intimation from Ted Cruz that he might not vote for Donald Trump.
There is no other candidate that would allow that speech to be made. There’s no other candidate that would allow that type of person, that situation, Cruz, to even appear at the convention. But Trump did. The Trump campaign — and look, I’m basing all this, just to be clear again, on the fact that everybody’s reporting that everybody knew what Cruz was gonna say, and they let it happen. And I’m telling you, no way that happens at a George Bush convention, a Bill Clinton convention, a Hillary Clinton convention.
You think the Clintons are gonna allow Bernie Sanders to go up there and say something without knowing word-for-word what he was gonna say? It would never, ever happen. And if Bernie Sanders was gonna go out there and not endorse Hillary and be ambiguous about it, you think Hillary’s gonna let him go out there? There is no way. They’ll have Elizabeth Warren hijack him on the way to the convention hall and take him to a Burger King or something and keep him tied up for a couple hours so he can never get there.
It would never happen. But it did happen last night. So now you’ve got all these analysts trying to figure this out and proclaim the ultimate meaning, and the conventional wisdom is that Cruz is toast, he has just ended his career. Dr. Krauthammer said it perhaps in the most creative way. Dr. Krauthammer said: “It was the longest suicide note I have ever read.” Is that not good? (laughing) The longest suicide note I’ve ever read.
Here’s the point, again. Because of that last night, look at all the unity now that is starting to occur for Trump. Look at all the people, including some of the Never Trumpers now coming to Trump’s defense. Maybe not coming to Trump’s defense, they are unifying with Trump against Cruz. You have some Never Trumpers who are applauding Cruz, but it’s a minimal number. He does have his supporters out there. And a lot of his supporters are in the Drive-By Media.
Washington Post: “Ted Cruz Distinguished Himself Wednesday Night. Mike Pence Failed.” They love it. They’re looking at this the wrong way. They think that what happened was that Ted Cruz hijacked the convention and that nobody heard what Mike Pence said, and they’re hoping nobody heard what Pence said because Pence was great. But people did hear what Pence said precisely because Cruz did what he did.
There were more eyeballs focused on and more attention being paid to that convention after what Cruz did, ’cause the media was going bananas, and everybody was talking about it, focusing on what would happen next. (interruption) Well, Newt came out. Newt was great last night. Newt was absolutely great. That speech was on the prompter, but you wouldn’t know it. Newt was fabulous. And he came out and he tried to tamp down this Cruz controversy by saying (summarized), “Hey, wait a minute. You people don’t understand.
“Cruz endorsed. He just didn’t do it in a direct way, but when you’re talking about ‘voting your conscience,’ for crying out loud, there’s only one ticket here you can possibly vote for if you vote your conscience, and that’s the Trump-Pence Republican ticket!” “Yaaay! Right on, right on!” But I just… I think this is all working out to Trump’s advantage in all kinds of different ways, and I think Trump is right there in the middle this.
I don’t think this is happenstance. Again, folks… Look, I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I’ve learned that some things need to be repeated over and over again before they actually connect, and all of my opining here is based on the reporting that everybody knew what Cruz was gonna say and let it happen. If that’s not true, then some of my opinionizing here, my opinionating is maybe a little off. But I don’t think so, even in that case.
But I’m just saying, again: This would not happen at any other convention. Nine o’clock slot? This is when primetime coverage begins. Cruz is number one, he’s not gonna endorse, the Trump campaign knew it. Trump is positioned to come into the hall at the very moment the crowd realizes Cruz is not gonna endorse. You saw those electronic glitches on the giant screen behind Cruz when he wasn’t making the endorsement?
Those were not technical glitches. It was done on purpose. The Trump campaign knew. They were already in the process of distracting from Cruz. I mean, Cruz may not have known it, he was backwards to that giant screen, but it went black. It was flashing. It looked like it had DirecTV and there’s a lightning storm. It gets pixelated for a while and then it went black. Then a portion of it was black.
It was distracting in and of itself, so much so the TV networks had to cover from a different angle, a side angle where the giant screen JumboTron, whatever it was, was not visible. So Cruz comes out, hijacks the convention from Megyn Kelly — who had been the number one attraction, someone with nothing to do with it. Cruz comes out, takes care of that, and then focuses attention on himself, which creates all kinds of not sympathy for Trump, but anger.
Because what happened, the party ended up asserting itself last night, the party that was previously in many sectors not all that warmed up to Trump. Some of them still remained a little cool to Trump. Some of those people are now joining the call to get behind the nominee. Cruz did that. Trump set the table and let it happen, knowing full well what Cruz was going to say. And I think it’s… To me, it is fascinating to see these kinds of things that are unexpected, because they would never be allowed to happen in any other convention.
(h/t RCP Video)
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor