Without really even trying, longtime right-wing radio host Mark Levin managed to drive the Trump White House into its latest round of mayhem over the weekend.
During a hugely presidential tweetstorm on Saturday morning, Donald Trump accused without evidence his predecessor Barack Obama of tapping his phones ahead of the election—a claim refuted by Obama’s spokesman as “simply false.”
“Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” Trump wrote on Twitter. The new president went on to hint at legal action, saying a “good lawyer” could probably “make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” the president additionally tweeted.
President Trump did not have a unique or top-secret intel guiding his Twitter meltdown. According to multiple reports over the weekend, Trump’s online outbursts were a direct result of him reading a Breitbart article summarizing Levin’s on-air speculation that Obama launched a “silent coup” against Trump.
“The real police state,” as Levin characterized it on Twitter last week.
According to multiple news reports, Trump’s “steaming, raging mad” tweetstorm sent unsuspecting White House senior staff into a state of confusion and overdrive, scrambling to figure out how to spin their boss’s Saturday Twitter rant, and how to manage the political fallout.
Late last week, Mark Levin said something on one of his evening broadcasts—and the butterfly effect of that ended up becoming major national news.
Via his rep, Levin declined The Daily Beast’s request for an interview on Monday. But for anyone who has ever listened to his work, Levin’s past remarks paint a graphic portrait of a perpetually angry conservative media star and commentator who too often enjoys indulging in wild claims and grand conspiracy-theorizing.
In late 2013, Levin—whose shouty, nasaly radio voice has been compared to an obnoxious cartoon character—went on a tear on his show comparing supporters of the Affordable Care Act to Nazi “Brownshirts.”
In June 2015, Levin yelled about Obama being a “low-life” and a “racist” and a “hater” for using “the N-word.” (Levin was not impressed by the fact that Obama is black, or that then president was using the word in a frank conversation about racism.)
“So, Obama has an affinity for Islam far more than Christianity or Judaism, no question about it,” Levin alleged on his radio show two years ago, adding that Obama seeks to “destroy Israel.”
In November 2014, Levin warned the American people during a Fox News hit about Obama going “full Mussolini” after the midterm elections.
The year before that, Levin was all about how “the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our government,” and that President Obama, though “not a formal member,” was a “sympathizer.”
So, basically Levin’s position for the eight-year duration of the Obama administration was that Barack Hussein Obama was constantly putting the country in Nazi-Islamist danger.
He kept a similar attitude during the Ebola crisis.
"This country is going backwards and not slowly, but fast,” the host shouted. “These horrific third-world diseases and illnesses being imported into this country because of the political policies of this administration which opens the door wide to people from the poorest parts of the world. We don't know who they are, we don't know if they have diseases.”
Of course, none of this would deter Trump from taking Levin seriously as a political analyst. Trump has sought the advice and validation from media personalities far more outrageous than Levin, such as Sandy Hook truther and all-around conspiracy-theory-monger Alex Jones. Trump himself famous launched his political career by becoming a leader in the racist birther movement.
Trump would, however, be more likely to quibble with Levin’s past remarks on a subject the president has always been very sensitive about: Donald J. Trump.
“Trump is NOT the real deal,” Levin posted to Facebook in April 2011. “He will get Obama re-elected. This is not a game. This is not a circus. He is not a conservative. He was happy to donate to Schumer, Weiner, & Emanuel campaigns last year. He was pro-choice recently and now claims to be pro-life. He sounds more & more like Ross Perot. If he runs as an Independent, Obama wins. We should not encourage this.”
More recently, the conservative radio host criticized Trump's Carrier deal as an “attack on the private sector." During the 2016 primary, Levin (a Ted Cruz supporter) said "I am not voting for Donald Trump. Period”—only to completely reverse himself in early September, while emphasizing that he takes “no responsibility for the dumb things [Donald Trump] says or the dumb things his surrogates say.”
Just a few short months later, Levin sits at a comfortable position of influence in the Trump era, now not only as a Trump endorser but as a strident defender.