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Limbaugh: Trump is playing hardball, don't you get it?

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh says Trump's anti-Muslim proposal is part of a hard bargain.
Image: Donald Trump campaign rally in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
A supporter holds a sign reading 'The Silent Majority Stands With Trump' while waiting for the arrival of US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to a campaign rally at the While Mountain Athletic Club in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, USA, 01 December 2015. EPA/CJ GUNTHERCJ GUNTHER / EPA

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh defended Donald Trump’s remarks on banning Muslims from entering the U.S. on Tuesday, arguing that the GOP presidential front-runner is simply driving a hard bargain.

“It’s all part of a negotiation. Trump supporters know – they’re in on the gag, they’re in on the deal,” Limbaugh said on Tuesday of Trump’s call for a temporary ban on allowing those of Muslim faith into the United States. ”The opener is the outrageous, the most outrageous demand you can make.”

Limbaugh is a key voice here: his radio program is the most-listened show in the nation and he's one of the single most influential voices in Republican politics. For the voters bolstering Trump's bid, who aren’t likely to be swayed by media or establishment Republicans' condemnation of Trump, Limbaugh's input here is normalizing. Limbaugh's theory also gives conservatives a playbook for pushing back against criticism on the Muslim ban -- it's simply "stratergy," as Limbaugh put it.

It also plays fundamentally into Trump's key selling point -- his riches and business success.

Limbaugh continued: "Trump is bringing his business acumen to politics, something politicians don’t have, business acumen, so they don’t recognize it."

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