The case beyond his commentary for giving Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom

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It was a gut-wrenching surprise for fans across the nation when Rush Limbaugh announced on-air his cancer diagnosis. That wasn’t the only surprise in store for them and the nation though, during the State of the Union when President Donald Trump singled out radio host Rush Limbaugh and awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom (full video at the end of this article). Rush is well known as a conservative radio commentator who oftentimes pushes the envelope and has said some pretty controversial things but truly he is so much more. Especially to me, as I have started doing more and more conservative talk radio appearances over the last several years.

NPR did a story after Rush’s announcement that notes how he paved the way for talk radio as we know it and while that alone wasn’t necessarily worthy of recognition as Trump said in his brief remarks it is Rush’s philanthropic giving that sets him apart from being just another commentator. 

In 2008 Forbes named Rush one of the nations top philanthropic celebrity givers saying, “Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh ranked fourth on the Most Generous Celebrities List by donating $4.2 million, or approximately 13% of the $33 million he earned last year, to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity that helps support the children of Marines or federal law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.” 

Here are some key donations to note:

  • As of April 2016: Over the past 26 years, Mr. Limbaugh and his audience have collectively raised more than $47 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, helping provide much-needed research and support for individuals and families affected by blood cancer diseases. 
  • “Every year I think it’s going to be the year that we finally have topped out and we’re not going to be able to beat the previous year. And I’ve never been right,” shared Limbaugh. “I and everybody at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America thank you from the bottom of our sizable beating hearts.” 
  • As of Dec. 2019: Raised over $5 million for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation which supports the loved ones of first responders killed in the line of duty. In July of 2019, the foundation paid off the mortgage of the house belonging to the family of a slain Auburn law enforcement officer for his wife and two children.
  • On Oct. 19, 2007: Rush auctioned off a letter he received from congressional Democrats who were upset with him for statements he made about soldiers who opposed the war and matched the winning bid. He gave the profits to The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation at the time he said, “it’s now official, is going to get in excess of $4.2 million because I am matching Betty Casey’s bid on eBay — $4.2 million.”
  • In July 2018, Limbaugh and his wife donated $500,000 to the Dana Farber Cancer Clinic in Boston.
  • Additional contributions can be found here