Rush Limbaugh said Monday that he never took Donald Trump "seriously" when he said he would deport millions of people residing in the US illegally.
The remarks from the king of conservative talk radio came when a Los Angeles caller identified as Rick confronted him about Trump's waffling on the issue. In recent days, the Republican nominee has appeared to back off his initial calls for mass deportation.
"I just distinctly heard you say it's not considered a flip-flop," the caller said. "And I just want to tell you that you are doing a disservice to all of us Republican primary voters who didn't vote for Trump, that are struggling whether or not to vote for Trump."
The caller continued:
"When you diminish the impact of his single policy that he ridiculed all other candidates for over a year. I mean, John Kasich classically said on the debate stage — he laughingly said, 'C'mon folks. This isn't serious. He's not going to deport everyone.' And Trump went ahead and ridiculed anyone who wasn't for deportation.
"And for all of us who were saying it was a con job, it was a snow job, he doesn't know what he's talking about, that he's unqualified to be president — for you to sit here and say now that he adopts all the positions of everybody he ridiculed as not even being a flip-flop and it's no big deal? This is why so many Republican voters have such a hard time going to the con man."
Limbaugh told the caller that he didn't believe "Trump has actually changed that much from what he said," but the caller wasn't having it:
"With all due respect, Rush, on Chuck Todd's show, he specifically said, when asked the question 'You mean you're going to rip the families apart?' [Trump] said, 'No, I'm not going to rip the families apart. They all have to go, even the US citizen children.'
"He then got in the middle of the debate and the argument between Marco [Rubio] and Ted [Cruz]. When Ted wanted legalization and Marco wanted citizenship as part of a comprehensive plan, he said they were both wrong, and they were both being absurd, and they all have to go or we don't have a nation of laws. C'mon! You were watching the debate as well as the rest of us were! You know exactly what he said, and you know exactly the way he ridiculed everyone on that stage!"
Limbaugh then said something he admitted would likely "enrage" the caller.
"I never took him seriously on this!" Limbaugh said.
"But 30 million or 15 or 10 million people did," the caller said.
"Yeah, and they still don't care," Limbaugh replied. "That my point — they still don't care! They're going to stick with him no matter what."
The caller continued to go after Limbaugh.
"This is why Trump is going to get annihilated," he said. "Because nobody called him out early on about his absurd policies."
Limbaugh argued that each of the Republican candidates "called him out."
The caller replied by noting that "unfortunately, the No. 1 place where Republican primary voters get their news" failed to do so.
"Oh no! It's on me!" Limbaugh exclaimed before cutting to a break.
Listen to the tense exchange:
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