Rush Limbaugh said Monday he does not believe Donald Trump has flip-flopped on deporting the 11 or 12 million immigrants in the country illegally because he, Limbaugh, never took Trump's deportation proposal seriously in the first place.

Limbaugh's statement came in an exchange with an angry caller who criticized the radio host for downplaying the change in Trump's thinking concerning deportations. Immigration is Trump's number-one issue, the caller said, and during the primaries Trump repeatedly slammed GOP rivals who opposed deportations.

"I mean, John Kasich ... laughingly said — 'Come on, folks, this isn't serious. He's not gonna deport everyone,'" the caller said to Limbaugh. "And Trump went ahead and ridiculed everybody who wasn't for deportation. And for all of us who were saying that it was a con job, that it was a snow job — that he doesn't know what he's talking about, that he's unqualified to be president — for you to sit here and say that now that he adopts all the positions of everybody he ridiculed as not even being a flip-flop and it's no big deal? This is why so many Republican voters have such a hard time going to the con man!"

Limbaugh answered that he did not think Trump has changed his position very much. But that just made the caller angrier. Trump insisted illegal immigrants had to go, didn't he? "Come on!" the caller said to Limbaugh. "You were watching the debates as the rest of us were!"

"Well, I guess the difference is — " Limbaugh began. "This is going to enrage you. You know, I could choose a path here to try to mollify you, but — I never took [Trump] seriously on this."

"But … 10 million people did," the caller said.

"Yeah, and they still don't care!" Limbaugh responded. "My point is, they still don't care! They're going to stick with him no matter what."

The subtext of the caller's point was: Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you tell your audience what you really thought of Trump?

After a break, Limbaugh sought to explain that he did not view it as his job to call out Trump for this or that perceived inconsistency during the primary campaign. There were 15 Republican candidates to do that, Limbaugh said. He stayed out of it for several reasons, and "at the top of that list of reasons is I don't control a single one of them, and they're gonna do things that are gonna be tough to defend at some point, and I don't want to be in the position of having to defend it, when I didn't say it, when I didn't do it."

So now that Trump has changed, or appears to have changed, a position he held during the primaries, Limbaugh says he never took the original position seriously, and it wasn't the responsibility of a talk-show host to explain that to listeners at the time. And that's the way it should be, Limbaugh added.

"I'm a radio guy," Limbaugh said. "I do a radio program. And my success here is defined by radio and broadcast business metrics, not political. It never has been defined by political metrics. I've never wanted it to be."