Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was slammed as “vile” this week for attacking 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Limbaugh criticized Thunberg last week after she was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, echoing similar attacks from Donald Trump.
Thunberg has publicly discussed the fact that she has Asperger’s syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum that often manifests itself through difficulties in social interactions. Those with Asperger’s are typically high-functioning.
Trump first tweeted on Thursday last week that Thunberg “must work on her Anger Management problem,” adding that she should “go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!”
“Chill Greta, Chill!” he wrote.
Thunberg, for her part, responded by changing her Twitter bio to read, “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
One day later, Limbaugh, on the Dec. 13 edition of his right-wing radio show, lambasted Democrats criticizing Trump for his tweet.
“[Democrats] have made her a political figure. They do this on purpose,” he claimed. “So she’s out tweeting and politicizing, and she is free to lie and say whatever she wants to say about climate change and who’s responsible for it, and nobody is permitted to question her, you see, because she has — what did they call it? She is in the autism spectrum, so you can’t disagree, you can’t question, because she’s not well.”
He continued, “This is a tactic that the Democrats use. They will go out and purposely find disabled people, they will make of them prominent political figures, and when they do that, I’m sorry, if they’re going to put disabled people or any other kind of person in the political arena, they are converting them into a political figure.”
On Monday, Rex Huppke, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, slammed Limbaugh’s comments as part of “the vile sauce many Americans marinate in.”
“The suggestion that Democrats are out rounding up people with disabilities to act as ideological human shields is volcanically offensive to people with disabilities, not to mention transparently untrue” he added.
Limbaugh has been a major figure of influence within conservative politics and the Republican Party for decades.
In that role, Limbaugh has espoused racist, misogynistic, and untruthful views over thousands of hours of broadcasts.
He once claimed that, under President Barack Obama, “the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.” He described Obama’s economic program as “reparations” and referred to Obama as “Barack, the Magic Negro.”
When activist Sandra Fluke testified before Congress about access to contraception, Limbaugh called her “a slut” and “a prostitute.”
Similar in tone to his attack on Thunberg, Limbaugh once even accused actor Michael J. Fox of “exaggerating the effects of [Parkinson’s] disease” and pantomimed the tremors afflicting the actor.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore