President Trump almost launched a White House talk-radio show last month but backed off in deference to Rush Limbaugh, the New York Times reports. Three unnamed White House officials say Trump walked into the Situation Room with a pitch: Listeners would call in and talk to him directly, without screening, so he could address their concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. But Trump ditched the idea that same day, not wanting to compete with Limbaugh. Someone at the meeting suggested airing on weekends or mornings to avoid Limbaugh's schedule, but the president shook his head. Instead, he chose to hold long daily media briefings that often sideline the pandemic in favor of attacks on reporters, per Vanity Fair.
Meanwhile, Limbaugh—a close ally and golf buddy of the president—is maligning the virus (calling it the "common cold") and medical experts ("Hillary Clinton sympathizers") as he attacks the economic shut-down on The Rush Limbaugh Show. "Are we just going to sit by and watch $22 trillion—that's the value, that's the sum total of the GDP, that's the US economy—are we just going to sit by here and watch it evaporate?" he said March 31 on his show, which leads the talk-show industry with 15.5 million weekly listeners. "Because that's what we're doing, under the guise of not losing any unnecessary life." Yet the vast majority of Americans appear to support the shutdown. Which leaves Trump where? He says the question of when to reopen the economy is "the biggest decision I've ever had to make." (Read more President Trump stories.)