Limbaugh has played himself before with racist stunts. With the complete ignorance of who he was supporting (and who he was attacking). You have to wonder if he even cares.
Dr Lorenzo Vidino, the Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, the author of books such as The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West and Al Qaeda in Europe: The New Battleground of International Jihad and an expert on Islamism in Europe and North America, was on CNN on Wednesday to speak on the threat of terrorism in the wake of the March 22 bombings in Brussels, Belgium. Before that however, he was asked about the right wing extremists that confronted mourners during a vigil over the weekend shouting anti-immigrant slogans, giving Nazi salutes and fighting with police, and it was his response that prompted radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh to launch into a tirade against Vidino and in support for the right wingers, calling them simply “the working class” and saying people like Vidino “are gonna be the death of Western civilization”.
Vidino was asked by CNN’s Carol Costello about the events that transpired at Place de la Bourse, which has become a symbolic rallying point in Brussels for people to pay their respects to those who died in Tuesday’s suicide bombings, and he wrote them off as political opportunists:
“(W)e’re talking about a fringe group of people. These are soccer hooligans. As most Europe countries, the soccer hooliganism scenes dominated by small right wing groups. And these are people who create havoc every weekend in the stadiums. And, obviously, they took advantage of the situation in Belgium as they were, in a way, gatherings, which are very peaceful and sending a positive message, they hijacked what was happened over the weekend in Brussels and to make their political point. But it speaks to a larger sentiment of what does exist in Europe. I mean it is not limited in the fringe of people that are linking the terrorism threat as we see Europe growing with influx of refugees. And that’s an argent that a lot of parties are obtaining growing consensus, 10,20, 25 percent in certain countries, are using, in times of fear like this, there’s a lot of populism going around.”
Within hours, Limbaugh railed on his radio show against Vidino, mistakenly saying the political event he was referring to was the bombing itself, not the peace vigil, and saying he was ignoring the Islamic extremists in favor of speaking about right wing extremism, when his later comments was in fact on those Islamic extremists in question:
“Can you believe this? They hijacked a political event. They hijacked what happened. He won’t even call it what it is. He won’t say they hijacked the terror attack in Brussels to make their political point. And here you have a very aristocratic sounding European running a think tank at George Washington University on extremism. (imitating Vidino) ‘And obviously we’re talking about a fringe group of people, the soccer hooligans, as in most European countries, the soccer hooliganism scene is dominated by right-wing groups. And these are people who create havoc every weekend in the stadiums.’
We’re not even talking about the Islamic terrorists. You see here, folks, you see who their real enemy is? I’m sorry for getting exorcised about this. This is exactly the kind of thing I feel it necessary to warn everybody about, because this is dangerously outrageous. What are we supposed to do after a terror attack? Just passively sit by and either not mention it or apologize maybe even? Yeah, maybe that’s it.”
Limbaugh then began to dismiss the concern for the right wingers that attacked the vigil as a smoke screen, incorrectly characterizing Vidino’s comments as trying to place blame for the bombings on them:
“Maybe we should apologize and then ask Lorenzo Vidino to chair a seminar on why they hate us, and that would give ISIS and the Islamic terrorists a chance to say that they don’t like these soccer hooligans, and the reason they blew up the European Union and the train station and the airport is because they’re fed up with right-wingers at soccer games. And by this we can reach a new level of mutual understanding and common ground. It’s terribly, terribly wrong to blame the terrorists here, the immigrants, terribly, terribly, terribly wrong to hijack unfortunate events there to make a political point.
These people are gonna be the death of Western civilization. They are going to be responsible for the death of Western civilization because they are willing to excuse terrorism in order to make their political point. This guy’s obviously a flaming leftist. And in order to make his political point, he tolerates terrorism and then blames the fact that it happened on soccer hooligans? Well, that’s the natural extension if you’re gonna sit here and blame a post-terror attack, anti-immigrant protest.”
Limbaugh then continued to attack Vidino as an “elitist” who thought he was above who he called “Soccer fans. Football fans. The working class.” Limbaugh made no mention of the fact that those he were defending were making Nazi salutes and directly confronting Muslim women who were paying their respects to the bombing victims. Limbaugh also ignored how police had to disperse the 400-plus right wingers with water cannons, reportedly arresting ten of them.
This is not the first time Limbaugh has associated himself with far right/racist groups or individuals. In 2013, the Monday following the verdict that cleared George Zimmerman of all charges stemming from his shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Limbaugh read an article smearing Martin written by Robert Stacy McCain of the League of the South, a White supremacist group that advocates for secession and who’s leader Michael Hill once wrote [https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/michael-hill] that white people are endowed with a “God-ordained superiority.” McCain himself has opined that discouraging teenage pregnancy among White girls is “racial suicide”.
It has been rumored that the right wingers that disrupted the vigil might have been associated with the Flemish fascist political party Vlaams Belang, but that has not been confirmed.