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GOP lawmakers mourn death of Rush Limbaugh

GOP lawmakers mourn death of Rush Limbaugh
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Congressional Republicans are mourning the loss of conservative radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh following news of his death Wednesday at the age of 70.

Top lawmakers lauded Limbaugh as a GOP "icon" who played a key role in amplifying conservative messaging and helping shape the direction of the party during more than 30 years on air.

“Rush Limbaugh revolutionized American radio. His voice guided the conservative movement for millions every day. Rest In Peace, Rush,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Conservatives go after Cheney for Trump CPAC remarks MORE (R-Calif.) tweeted.

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House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble Feehery: How Republicans can win by focusing on schools MORE (R-La.) praised Limbaugh for blazing the trail for other conservative media personalities.

“Rush Limbaugh was an American icon who brought conservatism into the mainstream—and our country is a better place because of his profound voice. He leaves behind an incredible legacy. Please join me in praying for his family,” Scalise said on Twitter.

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House MORE (R-Ohio), a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, called Limbaugh the “greatest radio host of all-time.”

“Rush Limbaugh was an icon, patriot, and American hero. No one fought harder for freedom and liberty. The greatest radio host of all-time will be missed by millions. God bless his family,” he tweeted.

Limbaugh was a close ally of former President TrumpDonald TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE, who awarded the syndicated radio host the Presidential Medal of Freedom during last year's State of the Union address.

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During an appearance Wednesday on Fox News, Trump called the late radio host a “great man.”

At its peak, "The Rush Limbaugh Show" had more than 15 million listeners. The audience size added to Limbaugh's political influence, but he also angered and offended many with his remarks on race and gender.

Limbaugh died Wednesday after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in early 2020.

Republican senators also offered their condolences.

“RIP to a legend and a patriot, Rush Limbaugh. Not many people can say they revolutionized and stayed at the top of an industry the way he did. My condolences to his family,” Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee Haley isolated after Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.).

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOpen-ended antitrust is an innovation killer Haley isolated after Trump fallout Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC MORE (R-Mo.), who led the charge in objecting to the 2020 presidential election results, praised Limbaugh for challenging "the establishment."

“A proud son of Missouri, Rush Limbaugh was a voice for the voiceless. He changed talk radio, but more importantly, Rush changed the conversation to speak up for the forgotten, and challenge the establishment. He lived the First Amendment and told hard truths,” Hawley said in a statement.

While Limbaugh’s legacy was broadly praised by those within the GOP, some critics said they believe his at-times inflammatory language did the party a disfavor.

“Besides rest in peace, what else can be said? Thank you for creating modern talk radio. But by so demonizing the left, you so contributed to the ugly and dangerous polarization of our politics today,” Joe WalshJoe WalshGOP lawmakers mourn death of Rush Limbaugh Sacha Baron Cohen pens op-ed on the dangers of conspiracy theories Sunday shows preview: Protests continue over shooting of Blake; coronavirus legislation talks remain at impasse MORE, a former Republican lawmaker and conservative talk radio host, wrote in an op-ed for Time magazine.

“And by trafficking in so many lies and conspiracy theories, you’ve helped ensure that a sizable segment of the American voting population no longer believes in basic truths. It will take years to undo this.”