Limbaugh: Obama's race 'paralyzed this country'

Limbaugh: Obama's race 'paralyzed this country'
© Getty Images

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh says President Obama’s race made healthy national debate over his actions and policies impossible.

Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview aired Wednesday that he “absolutely” faced racism as the nation’s first African-American president.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What you’re gonna have to admit is that the race of President Obama paralyzed this country,” Limbaugh said on his radio show Thursday. "It paralyzed legitimate criticism of the president of the United States.

“It amplified malcontent operations like Black Lives Matter,” Limbaugh added. "It gave rise to a thugocracy, and nobody had the guts to speak out against it for fear of what would happen to them.

“And it’s not just they were afraid of being called racist. It was what would happen to them by Black Lives Matter or whoever if anybody got wind of what they were saying.”

Limbaugh said Obama has not eased racial tensions during his eight years in the White House.

“The president’s the most powerful man in the world,” he said. "When you can’t criticize — when you can’t have an open discussion of what he’s doing because of his race — that’s paralysis.

“And I recognized this was gonna be the case the moment he won the election,” Limbaugh added. "It wasn’t going to liberate us from racial issues; it was going to make things worse, and it did.”

Obama said in Wednesday’s interview people may view him differently than other presidents because of his race.

“I think there’s a reason attitudes about my presidency among whites in the northern states are very different from whites in southern states,” he said.

Obama then described how the “birther” movement questioning his citizenship, fueled in large part by the past statements of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE, affected him.

“Are there folks whose primary concern about me has been that I seem foreign — the other? Are those who champion the birther movement feeding off of bias? Absolutely.”

Trump in 2011 questioned why Obama had not publicly released his birth certificate, speculating the president was born in Kenya and not the U.S. He announced in September that he now believes Obama is an American.