Limbaugh Says Trump Told Him to 'Never Apologize' for Buttigieg 'Gay Guy' Remarks: He 'Called Me About This!'

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said that President Donald Trump called him as he faced backlash last week over his comments about former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg's sexuality, and advised him to "never apologize."

During a segment on his syndicated show last week, Limbaugh told his audience that Buttigieg had little chance of securing the Democratic presidential nomination because "America is still not ready to elect a gay guy."

"Then they're sitting there and they're looking at Mayor Pete, a 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage," Limbaugh said. "And they're saying, 'Okay. How's that going to look, a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man, Donald Trump? What's gonna happen there?'"

As Limbaugh faced intense backlash over his remarks, with some critics calling his comments "homophobic," the host on Monday revealed that Trump called him to tell him not to issue a public apology. "Hell, the president even called me about this!" Limbaugh said on his show. "He said, 'Rush, I just got to tell you something. Never apologize. Don't ever apologize.'"

Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks at "An Evening With Rush Limbaugh" event May 3, 2007 in Novi, Michigan. Bill Pugliano/Getty

"I had no idea this thing had even bubbled up," he added, in reference to the criticism. "You know, I'm up doing the medical thing that I have to do here, and I wasn't even aware of this." Limbaugh revealed he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer earlier this month.

Limbaugh went on to claim that his comments enraged people because some "low-information voters" still don't know about Buttigieg's sexuality. "I think they think that there's a lot of people that don't know he's gay and that I sort of dropped the dime on it and let people who otherwise didn't know that Mayor Pete is gay," he said. "I think that's what they're really mad about, that I even mentioned it."

Newsweek reached out to The White House for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Buttigieg responded to Limbaugh's comments on Sunday, telling CNN's State of the Union that he's not going to listen to the conservative's lecture on "family values."

"I love my husband. I'm faithful to my husband. We usually just go for the hug. But I love him very much and I'm not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh," Buttigieg told host Dana Bash.

Limbaugh's remarks last week came just eight days after Trump awarded him the Medal of Freedom during his address at this year's State of the Union.