- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2020

Rush Limbaugh on Friday suggested health experts leading the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic are part of the “deep state” and questioned their credentials.

Without mentioning names, the conservative commentator spoke skeptically of medical professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health who are helming the Trump administration’s handling of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people across the country within the past several weeks.

He made the remarks while calling into his long-running radio program, which he has not hosted for two weeks while seeking medical treatment for advanced lung cancer.

“You know, we’ve talked about the deep state all these years since Trump was elected, the Trump-Russia collusion, the FBI — well, the deep state extends very deeply,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “And the American people did not elect a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know.

“And how do we know they’re even health experts? ‘Well, they wear white lab coats and they’ve been in the job for a while and they’re at the CDC and they’re at the NIH.’ Well, yeah, they’ve been there and they are there, but has there been any job assessment for them? They’re just assumed to be the best because they’re in government, but these are all kinds of things that I’ve been questioning,” he said during the “Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Mr. Limbaugh, 69, revealed last month that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. President Trump subsequently invited him to attend the State of the Union address the next day, where he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

He caused significant controversy in the days afterward for repeatedly saying that the “coronavirus is the common cold” and accusing Democrats and the media of using the outbreak to “bring down” Mr. Trump.

“But I’m telling you, just — to me, this is just a gigantic series of question marks and red flags, all this stuff that is — it’s just the timing of it, the objective — the gleeful, gleeful attitudes in the media about this, the gleeful attitudes that Democrat leaders have about this,” Mr. Limbaugh said March 11.

More than 585,000 people around the world have become infected with COVID-19, the infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and over 26,000 have died, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Conservatives including both Mr. Trump and Mr. Limbaugh are among those who have suggested a “deep state” exists within the U.S. government of career bureaucrats intent on undermining the president’s administration or secretly manipulating its mechanisms.

Mr. Trump used the term as recently as March 20 when he referred to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo as the head of the “Deep State Department” during a press conference held by the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Limbaugh’s latest remarks were first reported by the Media Matters for America watchdog group.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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