RUSH: Salena Zito. How are you?
ZITO: Hi, Mr. Limbaugh. I’m just living the dream. How about
RUSH: [Laughs] I’m really glad you had time to do this.
Now, I know you are a journalist, a columnist, a commentator —
but are you a Trump supporter?
ZITO: I actually don’t vote in elections I cover, because I want read-
ers to understand that I’m coming from the most honest place that
RUSH: You went against the grain of what seemed to be the typical
reporting in this Presidential campaign. I remember reading pieces of
yours where you’re in rural Pennsylvania, you’re seeing all these
Trump signs, and you’re not seeing any of this reported. You had the
impression early that there was a massive Trump movement in many
of these blue states that everybody was missing. You were seeing it.
ZITO: Yes. This is going to sound maybe a little bit odd, but I understood this election was coming back in 2006, and here’s why. I
saw the disconnect and distrust. People who had been voting Republican since 1994, who put the House in the majority for the
Republicans, were unhappy with the establishment, with Washington Republicans. In the House elections in 2006, they voted [Dem-ocrat] against even their own best interests, even their own pocketbooks, even their own ideological beliefs, because they wanted to
send a message to Washington Republicans that they’d had enough.
I thought something was going on in the electorate, but I knew
the only way I would understand it better would be in 2010, the
next midterm. If there was another rebellion against the status quo
— and I expected it would probably be a Democrat President —
that would tell me that this populist movement had legs and would
likely peak between 2012 and 2016.
When I worked at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, they were
very generous in letting me travel across the country to cover Presidential elections and midterms. So in 2015 and 2016, I already understood that because we’d had these massive swings in our midterms, something incredibly different was happening. People
laughed at me, but I knew in April 2016, right before Trump won
the Pennsylvania primary, that he could likely win the general election. Because there were 12,000 people in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before the primary. That’s just unheard of, Rush. Republicans
just don’t turn out that way. So I took that experience of going to
this rally for Trump six days before the Pennsylvania primary, and
the data of 90,000 Democrats switching to vote Republican, and I
knew something very different was going on.
RUSH: Given that you say there was this bottled-up energy and
desire for a massive change, let’s jump forward now to Trump. He’s
been elected. He’s President 17 days as we record this. How patient
are the people who elected Trump? How patient will they be with
the implementation of his agenda? If it fails to any degree, what will
they do, as voters? At some point do they tire? Do they tell themselves, “We gave it our best shot”? Or do they stick with him no
matter what? How do you read these people?
ZITO: I have been constantly going out there and interviewing
people in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and also in Indiana and Michigan. These people are much more patient than I think Washington
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a rare truth-telling political reporter, who actually got it right this
election. She practices the lost art of shoe-leather
journalism, which means that when you see her byline,
stop what you’re doing and read. It will be that good: