Before Donald Trump, there was Michael Savage. The genuine article among conservative radio hosts, Dr. Savage has never backed down from the political establishment, and has always rightly criticized Rush Limbaugh(“the golfer”) and Sean Hannity(“the Wallbanger”) when he’s perceived that they were carrying water. For years, he’s stressed what has become the platform of Trump’s campaign: borders, language, and culture, and in Trump, it seems like he’s found the candidate of his dreams. Savage’s freewheeling, un P.C. style has energized his listeners, and some have speculated that it helped provide the groundswell of populist support for Trump’s campaign. Up until this week, Savage was an avid Trump supporter, and the GOP presidential frontrunner appeared on his show for very friendly segments, where the two native New Yorkers would banter back and forth like two old friends in a Brooklyn barber shop. But now, something may be changing.
What’s happened? This week, the National Enquirer ran a story claiming that Ted Cruz had affairs with up to five women: among them, Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson, former Fiorina deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores, and former Cruz senior staffer Amanda Carpenter. Although the rumors didn’t originate with the Trump campaign, Trump surrogates wasted no time in repeating them. For Savage, this may be too much to bear. As WND notes:
Radio host Michael Savage told his listeners on Friday that Trump’s ties to National Enquirer CEO David Pecker raises red flags as to who started rumors claiming Sen. Ted Cruz cheated on his wife, Heidi, with five women. The “Savage Nation” host said Pecker is known to fly on Trump’s jet from New York to Florida, which is why the Republican front-runner must condemn the story. (The relevant portion of audio begins at 1:40).
“He should get rid of this connection, because this is not going to help him at all. This is utter garbage and Cruz is rightly offended,” Savage said. “I’ve supported Trump and probably still will, but if he won’t disavow this guy Pecker and this story, I may withdraw my support from anyone in this campaign. … I am not going to support anyone who engages in assassination by innuendo.”
This could be a seminal moment. To date, absolutely nothing has been too controversial for Trump supporters to abandon the New York billionaire. But Savage is no shrinking violet. If the San Francisco shock jock can draw a line in the sand, it might not be long before the American people follow.