In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on his 80th birthday, conservative radio talk show legend and #1 New York Times best-selling author Michael Savage reflects on his over two-decade media career and opens up about what it’s like to have achieved the American dream—from being the son of a Russian immigrant to becoming one of America’s most influential political voices, to being the proud father of a top food and beverage business mogul.
JOSH CAPLAN: You began your career over two decades ago as a local radio host at San Francisco’s KGO and climbed the ranks to become not only one of the most powerful voices in the conservative media, but one of the most powerful in all of American politics. You channeled that power to even help elect Donald Trump to the White House in 2016. Reflecting on your incredible career, how do you feel about your accomplishments?
MICHAEL SAVAGE: I don’t think about it, and you may not believe it, but I don’t receive the amount of feedback that you’d think. In 1994, I started in radio and I held a compassionate conservative event at the Marin Center with thousands of people. I went on to create the Paul Revere Society, and I had to think about what we stand for. I said we stand for a stronger nation, which is defined by borders, language, and culture. That has become my legacy issue.
I also wrote a book called Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder and the thesis of the book is true. How do liberals not know what a woman is? Do they not know what a border is for America, but they’re willing to risk a world war for the borders, language, and culture for Ukraine? Everything they do is the mark of someone on medication who is crazy. And they declare us to be the enemy.
But my career is not all political. My work with plants is another side of me that is unknown to the general public. I wrote a book years ago entitled Secrets of Fijian Medicine. The book is based on tons of research about the Fijian islands. I spent time there picking medicinal plants and working with folk healers. It sounds dry and boring, but these could be the source of future medicines for mankind. I’m going to reissue this book for my birthday on Kindle.
Another aspect of my legacy is the book I wrote called God, Faith, and Reason. I mention it because I struggle all the time with mortality since I’m a little kid. I’ve long asked the questions: who are we, what are we doing here, and what happens when we’re not here anymore? I’ve also long wondered what is the meaning of religion and if God exists or not. As I said in the book, I’ve never seen a complete picture of God, but I’ve seen snapshots. What do I mean by that? I’ve seen snapshots like my dog dying in my arms or a child being born.
Remember Job 3:3? “Let the day of my birth be erased, and the night I was conceived. Let that day be turned to darkness.” Why would he say that? Many of us are hurting right now and faith is an important part of who I am. There were times where I’d be alone in the island and I would pray. I never found ten Jews for a minyan in Fiji, but Fijians took me into their circle to pray. We sat many nights in bures without electricity and drinking kava kava, which is a mild narcotic. The Fijians considered me a part of them and our souls were close.
CAPLAN: Let’s switch to politics for a moment. President Joe Biden appears over his head as he’s engulfed by multiple crises like inflation and Ukraine. How would you rate this presidency?
SAVAGE: He’s a very sad person to watch, and has put this nation and world in great danger. None of this would have happened under Donald Trump. We had a much more stable world when Trump was in power. Today, we’re living in hell with runaway inflation and a war that could turn into something much worse. It’s the most insane and incompetent administration in history. Biden was always a second- or third-tier individual and was groomed to be a sub-character for more powerful individuals. He became the accidental president because of the media, which threw the election for him.
This is an F presidency. If we lived in a sane country, he would have been thrown out. But what waits in the wings? That cackler Kamala Harris is so much worse that I actually go to bed every night and pray for Biden’s health. Harris is a stooge of Nancy Pelosi and that whole machine. They put Harris in there from day one. Harris being president would be like a bust-out from The Sopranos.
Moving on to Ukraine: where are the peacemakers? All I hear is people fomenting more war. Biden should have [gone] to go meet Putin, not these left-wing fanatics who are going to start an arms race. And look at the media. Many retired generals and other former military men are on places like Fox News pushing war, and they have contracts and conflicts of interest with contractors.
CAPLAN: Switching back to the personal: your son Russell Weiner sold his company, Rockstar Energy, for $3.85 billion to PepsiCo in March 2020. As a father, how does it make you feel to see your son capture this level of success and what would your father, an immigrant to America, think of his grandson’s success? Could he fathom such an amazing achievement?
SAVAGE: No, he wouldn’t be able to. This could only happen in America. I remember one summer Russ sent up his boat to the Hudson River so I could hold a party for my publisher and some radio people. During my speech, I pointed out that the party was not far from where I grew up. Look, I’m a very competitive guy and I taught Russ to be very competitive. As my son was building his business, I used to tell him that I was astounded at what he was able to do and I would tell him that I admired him. He’d say back, “You made me, you created me.” Russ would list all the ways that I had an impact on him. “You took me to all the trade shows, you took me to Fiji to collect plants when I was a little kid and I learned about herbs from you,” Russ would tell me.
I’ll never forget how I took Russ to Japan together. I was there to collect an award from the Japan Creativity Society, and that’s something few people know about. I’ll never forget we took a non-stop flight from New York City to Narita airport and Russ was 13 or 14 years old. We went to a banquet, and one of these guys came up to him and said, “you bombed me, you bombed me in World War II. You blew up my house.” Russ was eating sushi as he was being blamed for the bombing of 1945.
No one knows this bit about the flight. We were only two of four people in first class and I kid you not, Russ ate his way all the way to Japan. The flight attendants wheeled out a cart with a side of roast beef on it. My son ended up having not one, but four big slices of roast beef with potatoes. He ate until the flight attendant was visibly upset. This happened over 35 years ago. Boy, does time fly. You bring these stories out of me, it’s great.
CAPLAN: So we touched on how you feel about your son’s success, now what about your father? Could he have dreamed of such a thing?
SAVAGE: No. My father died when he was young of a heart attack. He never met my son. I never met my grandfather because he also died of a heart attack. I never thought I’d live past 40 years old because of my family’s history. Through luck, my mother’s side, and vitamins, I’m still here.
Could my father, who owned a little store in the Lower East Side and worked there seven days per week with no vacation, fathom such success? No. He worked hard so my mother didn’t have to work and he bought a used Cadillac. He used to say people who bought cars on credit were cheating. So for a man who could only afford to buy a used “creampuff” Cadillac to have a son of such prominence and a grandson of such wealth — what would he do with that? What would he say to me? What would he advise me? I actually believe he would ask me what to think. And that’s because it’s outside of his forte.
CAPLAN: You’ve been hosting a highly successful podcast for over a year. What are your thoughts on the program, and are you going to continue it for the foreseeable future?
SAVAGE: It took me close to two years to get the hang of podcasting and the show is now in the top 0.5 percent in terms of downloads, according to my advertising agency. So the show is a success, but how long will I do it? I don’t know. Now that I’m turning 80 years old, I think there’s no point to this. Certainly during this war, I feel like I have to keep going. I’m only one small voice amidst this madness in the world. But if I could influence a few influential people, it’s worth it.
I like looking at who listens to the show. I have people that listen from all around the world, and the podcast got 20 million downloads last year, which is pretty good for me. Most of my episodes are downloaded from Apple. And you can’t say what you want when your show is on Apple. They can take it down if they want; they have all the power. No person is totally free in the media. None.
Some days I ask myself how many years I have left, and I ask how many years I want to keep doing this. Even if I was retired, I’d still be reading stories like I do on Breitbart or Drudge, so I have to talk about what’s going on. Now I go on Newsmax three days per week, and I pack my segments with powerful information. I told myself that when the day comes that I can’t do that anymore and sound like Joe Biden, I’ll disappear and you’ll never hear from me again.
CAPLAN: Final questions for you: It’s looking like there could be a red wave in the 2022 midterms. What are your predictions? And what is your prediction for 2024? Will Trump run? Will Biden?
SAVAGE: First of all, I don’t think it’s a shoo-in for the midterms for the Republicans. Everyone is saying it’s a guaranteed wave, and I say it’s not because of possible voting irregularities, and the election is still a long ways away. This raging war has also not played itself out. In my opinion, Biden and his team want to drag it out as long as they can without actually having a World War. We’re also entering a more totalitarian world with what goes on with social media and the media. Because of the left’s control, the mess in America is not clear-cut. I’m not so sure there’s going to be a red wave.
On the 2024 election, it looks like Trump will run, but he is getting older and not younger. He looks great at his weekly rallies and I hope he does run, but when is he going to run out of steam? I like him and I like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis enormously. Trump is not the only conservative Republican who can win the presidency. I would vote for Trump or DeSantis if they run. Biden will not run in a million years, and I don’t think he’ll make it through this term. It should be a Republican victory in 2024, but given the descent of the media, and social media censorship, it’s anyone’s guess what might happen.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.