Tennessee speaker calls lewd texts ‘locker room talk’

By KIMBERLEE KRUESI
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee’s House speaker says he was wrong to participate in lewd conversations about women with his former chief of staff and described the language as “locker room talk” between adult men.

House Speaker Glen Casada made the remarks on Tuesday while talking to Nashville radio station WTN-FM , a day after his top aide, Cade Cothren, resigned amid allegations he sent racist and sexually explicit text messages. Cothren also admitted to using cocaine in his legislative office years prior.

Casada says the Republican caucus supports him despite recently released text messages showing Cothren bragging to Casada about having sex in a restaurant and other sexually explicit discussions.

Casada’s explanation is similar to President Donald Trump, who also cited locker room talk during the 2016 campaign when a recording captured him making lewd remarks about women.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

May 7, 2019 (NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bill Lee’s recent statement on the scandal surrounding Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada:

Respectfully, feeble statements like this are how elected leaders get branded as moral cowards. Governor Lee has a chance to be a real leader and reset the culture at the state capitol, but that would require him to put ambition and politics aside and take a stand. Across the state, in small towns and big cities, Tennesseans believe in looking out for each other, man, woman, white, black, newcomer or tenth generation. Glen Casada has spit on and degraded this tradition. Governor Lee must search his heart and, if he really cares about a ‘higher standard and cultivating an environment of professionalism and respect,’ call for Speaker Casada’s resignation.”

  • Lee Statement: “When we choose to enter public service, we have an obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard and cultivate an environment of professionalism and respect. We owe it to Tennesseans to ensure they know that all of us in elected office hold ourselves to that high standard. Recent revelations have shaken that faith, and we need to ensure that confidence is fully restored.”
  • Background: Three times Speaker Casada has been faced with instances of sexual misconduct and sexism, and in each case he defended the perpetrator. In two cases he promoted them, giving them even more power. And now, it’s not just a sexism and sexual misconduct scandal he’s embroiled in, but racism and illegal drug use as well.
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