Feb 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Limbaugh Medal of Freedom: He doesn't understand American decency


Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Joe Biden reacted at a CNN town hall on Wednesday evening about talk show host Rush Limbaugh receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom at Tuesday's State of the Union, stating: "I don't think he understands the American code of decency and honor."

Why it matters: Biden received a Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor — from President Obama in 2017. Limbaugh accepted the award Tuesday, just one day after he announced he'd been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and will be seeking treatment.

What they're saying: Biden sent his best to Limbaugh regarding his diagnosis, but did not shy away from criticizing the radio personality's record.

  • "I mean this sincerely, that he's suffering from a terminal illness. So he has my empathy and sympathy no matter what his background is. But the idea that he [at] a State of the Union receives a medal that is of the highest honor that can be given to a civilian I find, quite frankly, driven more by trying to maintain your right-wing political credentials than it is anything else," Biden said.
  • "I mean, if you read some of the things that Rush has said about people, their backgrounds, their ethnicity, how he speaks to them ... I don't think he understands the American code of decency and honor," he added.

The big picture: Limbaugh has been one of the most influential conservative media personalities over the last three decades. His radio show often featured high-power guests, including President Trump.

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