A particularly low moment in a State of the Union speech full of them was President Trump awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to one of the voices that had most contributed to the decline of American civic life and political engagement
, professional racist conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh.
At The New Yorker today, David Remnick reflects on the how giving someone like Limbaugh such a cherished honor further debases the Presidency and our Republic, something this current president does almost daily:
Limbaugh is sixty-nine and, as he just announced on his daily radio program, has been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Empathy is due to anyone who is suffering. But not high honors, not a celebration of a life’s work devoted to the mockery and derision of the Other. For the President of the United States to bestow one of the nation’s highest laurels on Limbaugh is a morally corrosive and politically cynical act. It is a kind of assault on the achievements of so many previous award winners, a list that includes Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Václav Havel, Rosa Parks, and John Lewis. It is appalling to see Rush Limbaugh’s name listed alongside theirs.
Remnick is right on. Limbaugh’s award is another sad entry in the record of ways President Trump has broken the public trust.