A Short Guide To Mark Levin, Trump’s Likely Source For His Wiretapping Lie

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On March 4, President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of ordering his phones in Trump Tower to be wiretapped during the 2016 election. Trump’s claim echoed points made by Mark Levin, a right-wing talk radio host with a history of anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ statements, climate denial, and racism. He also attacked Obama throughout his presidency, comparing him to dictators, accusing him of racism and anti-Semitism, and saying he had “planted the seeds of World War III.”

Trump’s Claim That Obama Ordered A Wiretap Of Trump Tower Came From Talk Radio Host Mark Levin

Trump Repeated Rumor From Right-Wing Radio Host Mark Levin To Accuse Obama Administration Of Spying On Him During Election, Offering No Evidence. On the morning of March 4, President Donald Trump sent out a series of tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of improperly having his communications in Trump Tower wiretapped during the presidential campaign. Trump cited no evidence to support his allegation, which, according to BuzzFeed, “appears to have followed a path through the pro-Trump media” and may have been sparked by a right-wing radio rumor that was written up in a Breitbart.com post. [BuzzFeed, 3/4/17]

Levin Is One Of The Most Popular Talk Radio Hosts In The Country. Levin, a nationally syndicated radio host, was ranked fourth on Talkers magazine’s list of the “100 Most Important Talk Radio Show Hosts In America for 2016.” A 2013 Daily Beast article called Levin possibly “the most powerful conservative you never heard of,” citing his influence in the tea party movement and in the fight over comprehensive immigration reform. According to the article, former Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann credited Levin with leading the Republican fight against the Affordable Care Act in 2009. [Talkers, accessed 3/6/17; The Daily Beast, 10/19/13]

Trump Endorsed Levin’s 2013 Book And Gave Levin One Of His First Interviews After He Announced His Presidential Bid

Trump Gave Levin One Of His First Interviews As A 2016 Presidential Candidate. Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, and gave an interview about his campaign to The Mark Levin Show the next day. Levin did not support Trump’s candidacy and initially stated that he would not vote for him. However, in September of 2016, Levin changed his mind and said he would vote for Trump. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 6/16/15 via YouTube; Media Matters, 3/2/16; Conservative Review, 9/6/16]

Trump Endorsed Levin’s Book Championing A State-Led Constitutional Convention. On August 15, 2013, Trump tweeted that Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments was “a truly great & important book.” The Liberty Amendments advocates for a constitutional convention organized by state legislatures to “reform” the federal government. The idea has been criticized by Supreme Court justices, with former Chief Justice Warren Burger warning that such a convention “would be a free-for-all for special interest groups.” Justice Antonin Scalia also said that he “certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?” [Media Matters, 1/14/16]

Levin’s Record Includes Attacking President Obama, Latinos, LGBT Americans, And Climate Science

Mark Levin Regularly Attacked Obama And His Administration, Accusing Them Of Racism, Anti-Semitism, And “Plant[ing] The Seeds Of World War III”

Levin: The Obamas Are "Full Of Hate Speech." On the May 11, 2015, edition of his show, Levin called the Obamas "racialists" and "race-baiters of the first order" and repeatedly asked, "Do black lives matter to this president?" He then said Barack and Michelle Obama are "full of hate speech" and compared them to Jim Crow-era segregationist George Wallace. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 5/11/15]

Levin: Obama Is A "Low-Life" And A "Racist" For Using "The N-Word" After The Charleston Shooting. On the June 22, 2015, edition of The Mark Levin Show, Levin called President Obama a "low-life" and "racist" for using the "n-word" in an interview following the shootings in Charleston, S.C. He also criticized those who protested the Confederate flag, asking, "What the hell does that have to do with any of this?" [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 6/22/15]

Levin: Part Of Obama’s “Agenda” Was To “Change The Racial Makeup” Of America With The “Importation Of Millions And Millions From The Third World.” Levin cited “some article” to assert that “in 2020 or something like that … white schoolchildren will then be in the minority.” Levin concluded that “this has been part of the agenda of the Obama administration” -- to “change the racial makeup of the United States of America … with importation of millions and millions of people from the third world.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 3/6/15]

Levin Warned That Obama Would Go “Full Mussolini” After 2014 Midterms. On the October 21, 2014, edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Levin urged viewers to vote Republican because “with Obama it’s going to get worse -- you’re going to see his full Mussolini come out with his pen and his phone” before the 2014 midterm elections. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/21/14]

Levin Diagnosed Obama With Narcissistic Personality Disorder. On the December 1, 2014, edition of his show, Levin “delve[d] into the far reaches of Obama’s brain, between those two massive ears of his” to find that “he’s not just a Marxist ideologue, something is loose.” Levin concluded that based on Obama’s comments surrounding the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the symptoms of “narcissistic personality disorder” define “Obama to a T.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 12/1/14]

Levin: "There's Been More Genocide, More Rape, More Enslavement Under This President Than Any President In Modern History." During a March 13, 2015, rant about Iran and weapons of mass destruction, Levin attacked Obama’s foreign policy for allowing “more genocide, more rape, more enslavement under this president than any president in modern history.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/3/15]

Levin: Jewish Obama Donors Are “Self-Haters” Who “Despise Their Own Country.” Levin assailed “millionaire and billionaire Jewish people” as “the worst of the worst” for raising money for Obama and Democrats, “the enemies of liberty.” Levin added that “they’re not only self-haters, they despise their own country -- this country.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 7/31/14]

Levin: Obamacare Supporters Are “Brown Shirts.” Levin attacked supporters of the Affordable Care Act by comparing them to “brown shirts,” a reference to German Nazis. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 12/4/13]

Mark Levin: President Obama "Is The Greatest Threat The Jews Face ... Since The 1930s." On the March 27, 2015, edition of his radio show, Levin said Obama “is the greatest threat the Jews face -- not in this country, but in Israel -- since the 1930s,” in part because he was “arming up the Islamo-Nazis in Tehran” with the Iran nuclear deal. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 3/27/15]

Levin Demanded “A National Discussion About The Anti-Semitism” Of The Obama Administration. Levin said on the March 18, 2015, edition of Fox News’ Hannity, “I think this nation needs to have a discussion about what’s going on in this White House and this administration, about anti-Semitism.” He criticized Obama for “reaching out to Al Sharpton, the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, all these nutjob groups … willing to throw Israel over the side for the Islamo-regime in Tehran.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/18/15]

Levin: "I'm Not Going To Give This Man What He Wants, A Captive Audience For His Castro-Like Speeches." On January 12, 2016, Levin said that he would not watch Obama's final State of the Union address because he does "not [want] to give this man what he wants, a captive audience for his Castro-like speeches." Levin described Obama as "a propagandist spewing forth on how great he is":

MARK LEVIN: The hell with the State of the Union speech. The hell with a propagandist spewing forth on how great he is and he'd only be greater if everybody would do exactly what he says.

[...]

I am not going to give this man what he wants, a captive audience for his Castro-like speeches -- for his Castro-like speeches. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 11/12/16]

Levin Said Obama “Planted The Seeds Of World War III” With The Iran Nuclear Deal. On the July 14, 2015, edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Levin said the Iran nuclear deal "sealed the fate" of the world and "planted the seeds of World War III":

MARK LEVIN: My reaction is that Barack Obama has now planted the seeds of World War III. And one day World War III is going to break out right here because of his actions today. To arm up the Iranian regime, this terrorist regime in Tehran, you know, Obama likes to say that Reagan and Kennedy negotiated with the Soviets. The Soviets had nukes. Iran does not have nukes. But thanks to him and Kerry and the other ideologues and lightweights that surround him, they're going to get nukes. And this is where World War III, in my view, is going to start. He has sealed the fate -- the adults who are listening to this program, your children and grandchildren, he has made this world so much more dangerous as a result of what he has done. These inspections are phony. There are no real sanctions. The Iranians can't be trusted. They have demonstrated that time and time again, no less than the United Nations has told us. The Russians and Chinese are thrilled by this because we'll be bogged down for decades. This is a complete disaster. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/15/15]

Mark Levin Regularly Attacks And Mocks Latinos And Immigrants

Levin Mocked Rep. Luis Gutiérrez's Accent, Called Him The “Self-Appointed Martin Luther King Of Latinos.” Levin called Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez the “self-appointed Martin Luther King of Latinos” and said, “Can you have a negative IQ? If you’re Luis Gutiérrez, I think you can,” while mocking Gutiérrez’s accent. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 3/3/15]

Levin: Gutiérrez And Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez Are "Ethno-Thugs." Levin decried “pigmentation caucuses” in the Congress and called the “ethno-thugs” Gutiérrez and then-Labor Secretary Tom Perez typical of this “sad state of affairs.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 10/2/14]

Levin Attacked Birthright Citizenship As A “Nut-Job Policy.” In 2010, Levin claimed that "the Constitution does not provide for" birthright citizenship and called it a "nut-job policy." [TheRightScoop.com, 5/29/10]

Levin And Hannity Agreed That “Trump Was Right” To Want To End Birthright Citizenship. Levin appeared on the August 19, 2015, edition of Fox News’ Hannity to argue that “Trump is right” to seek an end to birthright citizenship and that it was only “slip-and-fall lawyers, some phony constitutional lawyers” who support the policy because “the Supreme Court has never ruled that the children of illegal aliens are American citizens.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/19/15]

Levin Compared Citizenship For Children Of Undocumented Immigrants To Japanese Internment Camps. On the July 30, 2014, edition of his radio show, Levin predicted that an Obama executive action on immigration would be “the greatest act of despotism” since President Franklin Roosevelt forced people of Japanese ancestry into internment camps. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 7/29/14]

Levin Calls Transgender Equality “Tyranny” And Compares Same-Sex Marriage To Heroin Addiction

Levin Tweeted A Report On An Obama Administration Rule Allowing Transgender Students To Use The Facilities Of Their Choice, Calling It “Obama’s Tyranny.”

[Twitter.com, 5/12/16]

Levin: The DOJ Is "Blackmail[ing]" North Carolina With Lawsuit Over The State’s Law Banning Trans People From Using The Facility Of Their Choice. Levin asserted that the lawsuit filed by the Department Of Justice over North Carolina’s law banning transgender people from using the facility of their choice was “blackmail” against the state and part of a “radical-left agenda.” From the May 9 edition of Westwood One’s The Mark Levin Show:

MARK LEVIN (HOST): So radical is this pathetic administration, so dangerous, so diabolical, that even our bathrooms aren’t safe. Now you knew that already. But we have a governor in North Carolina, Pat McCrory, who deserves the full support of this country. Because McCrory was blackmailed, in essence. He was told that he and the North Carolina legislature either back off their statute that basically restates that the boys’ room is for boys and the girls’ room is for boy, girls and it doesn’t discriminate against straights or gays or whatever, it’s just the way it is based on your genitalia. That if North Carolina didn’t back down, then the federal government is going to take billions and billions of dollars away from it. This is the way they blackmail states.

[...]

So what did Loretta Lynch and the Department of Injustice do today? Well, they sued him. They sued the state of North Carolina. And of course they wrap themselves in civil rights and fairness and equality. And remember what we’re talking about here. People who are changing their genitalia, or in the midst of changing their genitalia, or perhaps even thinking about changing their genitalia.

[...]

Who’s stopping anyone with a penis to go to a mens’ room and with a whatever to go to a female -- I shouldn’t even have said it. You understand. Since when has that changed anything? Why is that a civil right, to be able to, for a guy to go to a girls’ room and a girl to go to a guys’ room? What is this? [[, t] They act like it’s Selma, Alabama. Well it’s not. They’re always looking for a phony civil rights issue.

[...]

This is about a radical left agenda. Period. It’s about using the federal government to advance this radical left agenda. Period. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 5/9/16]

Levin On The SCOTUS Marriage Equality Ruling: “The Supreme Court Is Officially Nuts. A Runaway Oligarchy Using The Constitution To Enshrine The Left’s Agenda.”

[Twitter, 6/26/15]

Levin: GOP Should “Stop Chasing Genitalia” To Win Elections. Levin said on the June 10, 2014, edition of Fox News’ Hannity that the Republican Party should “stop chasing ethnic groups, stop chasing genitalia” to attract “Reagan Democrats” back to the party. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/10/14]

Levin: “Judicial Tyranny” Of Marriage Equality “Significantly Decreases The Nation’s Liberty.” Levin attacked “iron-fisted decision[s]” on “so-called social issues” like abortion and same-sex marriage as examples of “judicial tyranny” that “significantly decrease … the nation’s liberty.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 10/7/14]

Levin Compared Marriage Equality To Incest, Polygamy, And Drug Use. Speaking to a caller who supported same-sex marriage rights, Levin compared marriage equality to polygamy, saying it would be like if “everybody in society tak[ing] heroin,” or “an individual decides to have sex with a close relative … say a father and a daughter.” Levin defended this argument against marriage equality, saying, “I am using extreme examples just to address an extreme point.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 2/14/14]

Levin Claims The Earth Is Undergoing “Global Cooling,” Carbon Dioxide Is Not A Problem, And Clean Air Means Poverty

In A Fox News Special, Levin Claimed That Greenhouse Gases Were A Nonissue Because “Carbon Dioxide Is Necessary For Plants.” In October 2012, a Fox News special called “Behind Obama’s Green Agenda” featured Levin as an environmental expert. In the segment, Levin argued that greenhouse gas emissions are not a problem because "carbon dioxide is what we exhale, carbon dioxide is necessary for plants." [Media Matters, 10/8/12]

Levin Cited A Study To Hype “Global Cooling” And Dismiss Efforts To “Control Carbon Dioxide” Emissions, Against The Explicit Warning Of The Study’s Co-Author. On November 13, 2008, Levin misleadingly cited a scientific study predicting an ice age in the next 10,000 to 100,000 years to claim that humans should not “try and control carbon dioxide” to combat climate change. While Levin read a news article about the study on his radio show, he omitted the co-author’s explicit warning that the ice age prediction was “no excuse for saying ‘we’ve got to keep pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.’” [Media Matters, 11/20/08]

Levin Said Measures To Ensure “Clean Air And Clean Water” Would Lead To “Poverty.” Levin attacked Obama for “be[ing] at war with productivity, research, investment, development, profits … [and] the private sector” by supporting, among other things, environmental regulations. Levin mocked supporters of cap-and-trade legislation by saying “‘Oh, we want clean air and clean water.’ And what does that mean? Poverty.” [ABC Radio Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 11/12/09]

Levin Has A Record Of Making Racist And Anti-Muslim Statements

Levin: "Why Would We End Racial Profiling?" On the July 15, 2013, edition of his show, Levin asked, "Why would we end racial profiling for law enforcement purposes? Are we all supposed to be Helen Keller?" He suggested police would not be allowed to report any race data because of restrictions on racial profiling. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 7/15/13]

Levin: Grand Jury Results Show Ferguson Shooting "Had Nothing To Do With Race," And Officer Darren Wilson "Is Owed An Apology." On the November 25, 2014, edition of his radio show, Levin claimed that the grand jury declining to indict then-Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown showed that the shooting "had nothing to do with race":

MARK LEVIN (HOST): Officer Darren Wilson's shooting and killing of Michael Brown had nothing to do with race, period. Still they talk about race. Still the president talks about race. Still the attorney general talks about race. Still the media talk about race. Michael Brown was shot, in essence, because the officer was defending himself, both in the squad car, and later when Michael Brown charged him, period. This has nothing to do with racial injustice, nothing whatsoever to do with racial injustice.

[...]

And so now, what do we have? We have race-baiting, we have out of control emotions, we have criminality. It's the left. The left, they ignore science, they ignore evidence, they ignore experience, they ignore knowledge, just like everything else, whether it's global warming or Obamacare. These things exist to be exploited. It's time for us to speak up for law enforcement. Law enforcement has been extremely restrained. It's time for us to speak out in defense of Officer Wilson, who's owed an apology. He's owed an apology. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 11/25/14]

Levin: Sotomayor Is A "Bigot." Levin called Sotomayor a "bigot" - before qualifying that her comment was "bigoted" - after she gave a speech in which she hoped that in race and sex discrimination cases the relevant life experience of a "wise Latina" might lead to "a better conclusion" than that of a white male. From his May 26, 2009 editions of his show:

LEVIN: [Senators] need to understand that if they vote to confirm a radical leftist -- and I will now say what I actually believe -- who is a bigot -- that's right, I said it -- then they need to pay a political price for this. [The Mark Levin Show, 5/26/09, via Media Matters]

Levin: U.S. Is Scoring Lower In Global Education Survey Because Migrant Children "Come In, They Pour Into Many Of Our School Systems." On December 4, 2013, Levin suggested that immigrant children could be the reason the U.S.’ “numbers have dropped and continue to drop” in a global education survey of high school students, claiming that many of the children “only speak Spanish” and “are illiterate in Spanish because they’re poor.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 12/4/13]

Levin: Attorney General Eric Holder Committed "Hate Crimes" By Conducting Civil Rights Investigation In Ferguson After Shooting. On the October 23, 2014, edition of his radio show, Levin asked how then-Attorney General Eric Holder would be "held to account for what he did" in Ferguson, MO, accusing him of "hate crimes" and "race baiting" through his civil rights investigation of the shooting and its aftermath:

MARK LEVIN: I have a question. How will Eric Holder be held to account for what he did in Ferguson, Missouri? The attorney general of the United States, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, which includes due process, which includes equal protection. How will Eric Holder be held to account for what he did in Ferguson, Missouri?

[...]

It's abundantly clear that the people who claimed that the officer, Darren Wilson, shot an innocent, unarmed black teenager, are liars. Flat-out liars. There are reportedly now over half a dozen black witnesses who contradict what's been said about the circumstances involving the shooting and the killing, who are afraid - who are afraid for their lives, afraid for their families, afraid for their jobs and their businesses. Eric Holder helped create that situation, that environment, in Ferguson, Missouri, which continues to this day because of groups like ACORN, still ACORN, and other radical left-wing hate America-type organizations.

[...]

So this is the situation now. So I'm asking, how will Eric Holder be held to account, how will he be held to account for his race baiting, for his -- in my view -- yes, hate crimes, if you will. Much of it has resulted as a result of his conduct, his comments, the conduct of the Civil Rights Division under his leadership. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 10/23/14]

Levin: “There’s Nothing Controversial” About A Tweet Comparing Muslims To Nazis. After former Boston Red Sox pitcher, then-ESPN personality, and current Breitbart radio host Curt Schilling posted a tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis, Levin said, "There's nothing controversial about the Curt Schilling tweet," going on to call ESPN "a disgrace" and encourage viewers to protest the network. [Media Matters, 10/26/15]

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