Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks in Jefferson City, Mo.
Photo by Julie Smith/AP

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

Updated

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.

RELATED: Jeb Bush denounces Trump, but won’t say if he’ll support him

“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.”

MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts, 12/8/15, 2:40 PM ET

George Takei on Donald Trump

Actor and activist George Takei – who was placed in a Japanese internment camp in America during World War II as an American citizen – joins Thomas Roberts with his reaction to Donald Trump proposing that Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S.
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.”

Donald Trump

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

Updated