Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced the news on his radio show.
Limbaugh disclosed the severity of his illness to listeners of his syndicated “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in February 2020 when he took several days off to receive treatment. That same month he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Donald Trump.
Limbaugh wielded enormous influence in politics. He was beloved by conservatives and reviled by liberals. He contributed to the coarsening of public discourse by referring to prominent women as “femi-Nazis” and by belittling those who disagreed with him. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Limbaugh repeatedly referred to Barack Obama as the “affirmative-action candidate.”
Limbaugh was one of the most popular personalities on radio and one of the most well paid. In 2008, he signed an eight-year deal with Premiere Networks valued at $400 million. His audience at his peak was estimated at about 25 million a week.
Limbaugh was born Jan. 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., to a prominent family. Limbaugh reportedly told his father, an attorney, that he wanted to be radio host at the age of 8. In high school he worked as a disc jockey for a local radio station owned by his father.
He attended Southern Missouri State University, but left after a year to try his hand at radio. He worked at ABC-owned radio station KQV in Pittsburgh. He later moved to Kansas City to join the Royals baseball team as director of group ticket sales, and later advanced to director of sales and special events.
In 1983, Limbaugh was back in radio as a commentator on Kansas City’s KMBZ. He moved to Sacramento, Calif., the following year and landed a daytime talk show on KFBK. The show’s ratings took off, and Limbaugh began getting national attention. He moved to New York and signed his first syndication deal with ABC Radio Networks in 1988.
Limbaugh was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. He penned a number of bestselling books including 1992’s “The Way Things Ought to Be” and 1993’s “See, I Told You So” and the children’s book series “The Adventures of Rush Revere.”
Limbaugh was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 1998.
Limbaugh was married four times. His survivors include his wife, Kathryn.
CNBC spoke with Black leaders about their advice for the next generation, as well as their defining career moments and lessons they’ve learned.
Robert Johnson, The RLJ Companies
Robert Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but he knew working hard could give him an opportunity to succeed.
He started Black Entertainment Television with a $15,000 loan in 1980 and in 1991 he launched it as a public company — the first African-American-owned one traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
“My team and I stood on the platform on the Exchange floor and rang the bell, signifying that we were a publicly traded company participating in the U.S. economy like the major companies in this country have done for many years,” said Johnson, who became the country’sfirst Black billionaire in 2001.
“The fact that we were first, the fact that we symbolized what Black Americans can do if given an opportunity was the proudest, one of the proudest days of my life in business.”
Johnson, who is no longer on theForbes billionaire list, took BET private in 1998 and sold it toViacomin 2001 for approximately $3 billion. He then startedThe RLJ Companies, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and invests in diverse businesses.
Bonawyn Eison, XP Investments
Bonawyn Eisonlanded in New York after graduating from Stanford University in 2005 and has been building his career in the financial markets ever since. He started trading financial and energy options atJPMorgan Chaseand made a few other career moves before taking his current job as managing director of equity derivatives atXP Investments.
“There is nothing like self-empowerment: Feeling like you have the tools within yourself to kind of move forward,” said Eison, who credits his mother for helping shape him into the man he is today.
He said he hopes those who aspire to become successful adopt the mindset that they have limitless possibilities.
Instead of focusing on what you may need or think you can’t have, find out what it is you truly want in your life and work tirelessly towards that goal, he advised.
“While I understand that you may not have all the luxuries at your disposal, opportunity, met with tireless effort, will lead to results,” Eison said.
Degas Wright, Decatur Capital Management
Degas Wright, founder and CEO of Decatur Capital Management, learned at an early age the importance of investing in himself.
After earning a “D” in eighth-grade algebra, he told his mother that he was one of just two Black students in his class and didn’t want the white students to think he was stupid. She told him that he needed to learn the material and she couldn’t help him.
“The next day I made sure that I asked questions,” recalled Wright, a certified financial planner. “My next report card I had an ‘A.’
“And to this day, math is my favorite subject.”
He also gained a valuable lesson when he was 16 years old. While working at a military commissary unloading grocery carts and delivering the groceries to cars, he would receive tips. Yet it would take a couple of hours to earn enough to pay for lunch, so he decided to bring lunch from home.
“I learned at an early age to live with less.”
George James, licensed therapist
ForGeorge James, chief innovation officer at the Council for Relationships and CEO of George Talks, giving advice and counsel is part of his everyday life. While he generally deals with helping people overcome relational struggles, he also focuses on racial trauma and justice.
His advice to Black youths today: Don’t financially limit yourself, no matter what others say to you or believe about you.
“I never believed in financial limits that people tried to put on me, whether it was because of my profession or because of my race, or whether because my family didn’t have money growing up,” James said.
“Believe that you can accomplish and do whatever you need to do for yourself financially.”
James McDonald, Hercules Investments
James McDonaldfounded his most recent company,Hercules Investments, in 2019 after spending about two decades in the finance industry. Yet it’s not his only passion — he had a 12-year semi-pro football career and also won the 2018 Southern California Heavyweight Boxing Tournament.
He likes to remind young Black men to look at the success others have had before them, most notably the first Black man to sit in the Oval Office, former President Barack Obama.
“We’ve excelled at some of the largest financial institutions and we’ve generated billions in those areas of finance that are most complex,” McDonald said.
“You can do it, too,” he added. “Go after what you want, and be all that you can be.”
Plaskett defends not calling witnesses in Trump trial: ‘We needed more senators with spines’
Del. Plaskett served as one of the nine House impeachment managers
De.Stacey Plaskettappeared onCNN‘sState of the Unionwith correspondentJake Tapperon Sunday where she defended the Democratic House manager’s decision to not call witnesses in former PresidentDonald Trump‘s Senate impeachment trial.
The day following Trump’s acquittal, Plaskett said frankly that they “needed more senators with spines” in order to convict the former president,according to CNN.
“I know that people are feeling a lot of angst and believe that maybe if we had (a witness) the senators would have done what we wanted, but, listen, we didn’t need more witnesses, we needed more senators with spines,” said Plaskett, who represents the US Virgin Islands’ at-large congressional district and served as one of nine impeachment managers.
Tapper mentioned Plaskett and her fellow impeachment managers’ intentions to call on Republican Rep.Jaime Herrera Beutlerof Washington as a witness to describe Rep.Kevin McCarthy‘s call with Trump in which he defended the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“He said, ‘Well, Kevin, these aren’t my people, these are Antifa.’ And Kevin responded and said, ‘No, they’re your people…you need to call them off.’ And the President’s response to Kevin, to me, was chilling,” Herrera Beutler said in a recorded call on Feb. 8. “He said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess they’re more upset about the election theft than you are.”
Herrera Beutler’s statement was entered into the trial record as evidence and no witnesses appeared at the trials which reportedly frustrated Democrats.
Plaskett said her team heard they were at risk of losing Republican votes including Sen.Richard Burrof North Carolina but assured that it didn’t play into their decision.
When asked why the team backed down, she replied, “I think we didn’t back down.”
“I think what we did was we got what we wanted which was her statement, which is what she said and had it put into the record and being able to say it on the record out loud so others would hear,” she said.
“Just so the American public is aware, witnesses in a Senate hearing do not come and stand before the Senators and make any statements. It’s a deposition, it’s videotaped and that is brought before the Senate.”
A Broken Party Acquitted Donald Trump In His Second Impeachment
The ex-president’s boast he could get away with murder proved true.
Back in January 2016, beforeDonald Trumpwon his first presidential primary, before he secured his position atop theRepublican Partyand before he won the White House, he mused about the unbreakable bond between himself and his supporters witha joke about murder.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said, to a laughing audience, while pointing his finger at them like a gun. “OK? It’s, like, incredible.”
What was once true of his supporters is now true of nearly the entire Republican Party. The Senate voted 57 to 43 on Saturday to convict Trump, now an ex-president, of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as part of his plan to overturn an election he lost.
Just seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats and independents to vote to convict, despite a mountain of evidence presented by the House impeachment managers. It was short of the 67 votes needed to convict.
Trump stood in the middle of Washington, D.C., pointed his supporters at Congress and fired. Seven people ― three police officers, including two by suicide, and four Trump supporters ― died as a result of the president’s actions. And his party let him off the hook.
Trump’s first impeachment acquittal, over his attempt to bribe a foreign president with congressionally approved funds to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf, revealed that the Constitution’s impeachment power was broken beyond repairdue to the asymmetric polarization of the political parties. His second impeachment acquittal shows the Republican Party no longer places limits on the actions it will excuse.
The Republican Party remains fully under Trump’s thumb. Just 10 Republicans in the House voted to impeach Trump and seven in the Senate voted to convict after he aimed his supporters at the Capitol and they sacked it, screaming bloody murder for Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others.
“I hope ― I trust we could all agree that if the president incites a violent insurrection against our government that that’s impeachable conduct,” Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), one of the House impeachment managers, said during the trial.
It was not.
Despite Trump’shistorically consistent unpopularityand the GOP’s loss of the House, the Senate and ultimately the White House during his four years in office, his support from the party’s base ― those who would excuse him shooting someone on Fifth Avenue ― remains strong enough that any vote to hold him accountable is likely to be politically toxic for Republican lawmakers.
Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) have all been censured or reprimanded by their respective state or local Republican Party committees for voting to impeach Trump. The Arizona Republican Party censured Gov. Doug Ducey (R) for not illegally overturning President Joe Biden’s win in the state as Trump demanded. Most recently, the Louisiana Republican Party reprimanded Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) for voting for a motion deeming it constitutional to hold a trial of an ex-president in the Senate.
This threat was made clear during the impeachment trial when Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor played video of Trump threatening to back primary challengers to Republicans who did not do his bidding. (The video was ostensibly to show that Trump used the word “fight” in a rhetorical sense, and that he was only urging on elected officials.)
“Nobody in this chamber is anxious to have a primary challenge,” Castor said in front of a room of Republican senators. “That is one truism I think I can say with some certainty. But that’s the way we operate in this country.”
Others who crossed the president by not helping him overturn the election results or by voting for his impeachment fear for their lives. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his wife weretargeted with a steady stream of death threatsfrom Trump supporters after he upheld Biden’s legitimate win in the state. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.)purchased body armorafter receiving a number of death threats for voting to impeach Trump. Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer, a Republican,faced threats from his fellow Republican state senators and death threats from the publicafter he cast the deciding vote against holding the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt and authorizing their arrest for refusing to hand over 2 million ballots cast in the county as part of an investigation to prove Trump’s election lies.
These personal concerns may weigh on the minds of Republicans who hope to be reelected and remain alive, but so do broader political concerns. The conservative movement that brought about Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority” and Ronald Reagan’s “Moral Majority” haswithered to a minority status. Republican presidential candidates have now lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight elections, which is the longest such drought for a party since the 19th century.
But Trump showed that Republicans can win without popular support. He showed them a path tominority rule.
Republican voters by 57%-43% view Democrats as “enemies” rather than “opponents,” according to aCBS News/YouGov poll. This compared to 41%-59% among Democrats. This view of Democrats as enemies is cultivated from a fear that conservative cultural dominance is long over and conservative political dominance is waning. Among Republicans, 79% believe that “the political system is stacked against more traditionally minded people,” according toa survey by the conservative think tank AEI. And, according to that same survey, 55% of Republicans believe that “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.”
Considering both Trump’s electoral road map to success and the views of his voters, Republican lawmakers are clearly not eager to change direction by convicting Trump and disqualifying him to “hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit.”
After all, the same lawmakers who let Trump off the hook promoted Trump’s election fraud hoax along the way.
Months before the 2016 election, Trump claimed that he could not lose unless there was election fraud. His political consigliere Roger Stone registered a group called Stop the Steal at the time. But this turned out to be unnecessary. Still, Trump claimed falsely that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
In 2020, as the House impeachment managers explained, Trump laid the groundwork for leveling false charges of election fraud as soon as the coronavirus pandemic led states to loosen mail-in voting rules to make their elections safer. He then used these lies to falsely claim victory early on the morning of Nov. 4, well before all valid votes were counted. He then fomented an invented tale of election fraud that included Venezuelan voting machines, Italian spies and anonymous white-hat hackers and filed a series of frivolous lawsuits, all of which failed. And Stop the Steal came back.
When Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power, as every president who lost reelection had done before, he said, “We’re going to have to see what happens.”
“The president has every right to look into allegations and request recounts under the law,” then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
More than half of the House Republican caucus, including Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), signed an amicus brief in support of a frivolous lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) seeking to overturn the election results.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) opened his own investigation into Trump’s false allegations in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
McConnell, McCarthy and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also voted to block the congressional inauguration committee from going forward with plans for Biden’s inauguration despite a lack of evidence for any reason to do so.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) backed up Trump’s election lies with a call to investigate Pennsylvania’s election results. Graham even called up election officials in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada to question their election process. Officials in Raffensperger’s office claimed that Graham suggested the secretary throw out some valid mail-in ballots. (Graham denies this, but the Fulton County district attorney is investigating.)
After the Electoral College affirmed Biden’s victory on Dec. 14, Trump’s efforts turned to Jan. 6, when the votes would be certified by Congress. And then he got support from Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), among other senators, who promised to contest the results in states Biden won.
“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?” an anonymous senior Republican official told The Washington Post on Nov. 9. “No one seriously thinks the results will change.”
They Know Better
Trump refused to concede his election loss. He then embarked on an unprecedented effort to overturn the results and install himself as leader. At the last minute, when Congress was meeting to count the electoral votes and secure Biden’s win, he gathered his greatest supporters, some of whom are members of violent militias and street-fighting gangs, pointed them at the Capitol and told them to “fight like hell, [or] you won’t have a country anymore.”
Everyone knows the “downside for humoring him” now.
While the insurrection was still ongoing, McCarthy reportedly called Trump pleading with the president to call off his supporters, as he was the one who sicced them on Congress. According to Rep. Jaime Herrera Buetler (R-Wash.), Trump at first pretended the insurrectionists were the left-wing anarchist group antifa, but when McCarthy informed him otherwise the president said, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” Even after this, McCarthy voted to overturn state election results and against impeachment.
After the insurrection, McConnell expressed his belief that this was Trump’s fault.
“The mob was fed lies,” he said on the Senate floor after the insurrection. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
But now McConnell has voted to acquit Trump of exactly this.
When Trump was acquitted in his previous impeachment trial for pressuring Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into Biden in order to hamper his presidential campaign, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she believed “the president has learned from this case.”
“I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future,” she added.
He was not. But someone did learn a lesson. Collins voted to convict this time, as did Republican Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.). Romney was the only GOP senator who voted to convict Trump both times.
Trump has now been acquitted in two impeachments. Every time that he transgressed the limits of his office, whether it was trying to get a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election, lying about his election loss and then seeking to subvert democracy by inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, most Republicans humored him.
In their final day of arguments, the House impeachment managers explained what it would mean to further humor Trump by not convicting him and disqualifying him from holding public office ever again.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said he was not worried about Trump running again and winning. “I’m afraid he’s going to run again and lose, because he could do this again,” Lieu said.
“If we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again,” Neguse said.
And, finally, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House impeachment manager, asked if there is “any political leader in this room who believes that — if he is allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office — Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?”
“Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?” Raskin asked. “President Trump declared his conduct ‘totally appropriate,’ so if he gets back into office and it happens again, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.”
But Republican senators acquitted Trump. And now we’ll have to see what happens.