Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee State Representative Sabi “Doc” Kumar (R-Springfield) in studio to talk about State Representative Justin Jones’ (D-Nashvile) unprofessional and divisive behavior during on the House floor and committee hearings last week.
Leahy: In studio all-star panelist, Roger Simon and our very good friend, State Representative Sabi Kumar from India. He’s lived here in the United States for over 50 years. And I just want to wrap up this discussion.
The first time that Justin Jones called you and made a racist insult and the first time in the 53 years you’ve ever lived in America, that anybody insulted you on a racial basis, a couple of weeks before the expulsion hearings, you were in a committee hearing.
Kumar: That is true. As I said, we were having a discussion about divisive concepts, and I brought up the contrast between two daughters of immigrants, our Vice President Harris being one and Nikki Haley, being the other, and having achieved things at the highest national level in politics and statesmanship what their view of America is. There’s a great contrast in what I was trying to point out and that’s a divisive concept to achieve so much and take advantage of all the blessings in America and yet be anti-American.
Leahy: And so you were both in the committee hearing and then his response to you was…
Kumar: Actually, it was toward the end of the committee meeting, so I really was trying to believe that this had happened. I did not react to that right away.
Leahy: In the hearing, he looked at you and said, “You’re the brown face of white supremacy.”
Kumar: Right. And then the committee ended. And after the committee, I’m still thinking about it. And again, it’s good not to react to these situations and I’m a thinker, so the committee ends and Representative Jones was sitting one or two rows in front of me. He comes back face to face, points his finger at me, and said something that was even more toxic. It’s toxic to talk like that.
Leahy: What did he say?
Kumar: He said, they will never accept you, Kumar. And he said it twice. And my response to it was, they love me. Because that is what I have gotten in Robertson County and even at the legislature. What I have gotten is basically people have been very kind, and very respectful, and they’ve given me instant credibility being a physician and the way I have acted. My response to him was, they love me and we let it go at that.
Simon: And what you said really threatened him because what that guy thinks in his head is the only road to power he has is by claiming racism. And that’s the way he exploits everybody and the way he exploits those kids that were outside. It’s a game. And I think probably in his head, he now believes the game because it’s to his advantage.
Kumar: He’s justifying the remark that these are divisive concepts and they don’t realize how it hurts them within their soul. A person who without any reason confronts somebody and insults them, there’s something wrong there. They have their own demons or internal struggles. And certainly, yes, it’s insulting to me, but I look at that person and say, gee, there’s something wrong with your life.
Simon: You’re too nice a person. Here’s what I mean. I think you are, by the way, and I really admire what you’re doing. The only road to power that guy has in real life because he’s a disturbed individual, is to believe that nonsense. He’s rewarded for it. Look at the Reverend Al Sharpton. Now that man is a racist.
Kumar: Sure. But he’s been rewarded. He’s rich, he’s powerful. He went into the White House how many times under Obama? I’ve forgotten. Do you remember? Like 14 or something?
Leahy: Quite a few more than you or I have been. Anyway Representative Kumar, so the expulsion hearing hearings a week ago today, you were asking him a question, and he looked at you and he repeated this racist insult to you personally, once again calling you, “The brown face of white supremacy.” Were you astounded that he repeated that racist insult to you?
Kumar: To be honest with you, grace is the ability to tolerate bad behavior. Really. And that’s how I function. I’m not going to react to it in anger, I think by repeating it or saying things like that in front of the full House of Representatives he has done damage to his credibility and his ability.
The lack of kindness and the lack of proper behavior is quite apparent. Yes, I would like to make a case that treating a fellow representative unprovoked in that manner is grounds enough for expulsion, but then there were a lot of other grounds for expulsion. (Laughter)
Also, it’s really unbelievable that the media has portrayed it as if all of them were expelled because they were just speaking out of turn. They didn’t follow No, no, no. There are a tremendous number of offenses that these people have committed over the last three months or so that we’ve been here.
And those offenses have included taking time during welcoming and honoring, during the time that we honor people who have passed away in our communities, people who have had happy occasions in our communities, or we invite champions in sports and other matters to come to the House of Representatives so we can honor them.
These are citizens and it is the duty of the government to honor them. While we are trying to honor them, these people will take that time to make speeches on a social agenda. Really most honoring and welcoming are a few sentences like, I wanna wish so and so a happy birthday or we lost this valuable citizen in our community in what his accomplishments were.
Just a minute or two. They would want to give a five or 10-minute speech on social agenda telling all of us that we are anti-democratic, we are racist and we are against everything that they believe in. But that is really not the point of welcoming and honoring.
Let’s take a simple example. We are having a roll call voting committee and there are four choices that you can answer a roll call with. You can say yes, you can say no, you can say present or you can stay silent. Those are the four choices.
These people, forgive me for saying this, the response from one of them was, the name is called for a roll call vote on a matter unrelated, and the answer is “hell no.” This is a state where babies are having babies, where we don’t have healthcare, and we don’t have this and that. That is totally inappropriate. To me, that is an invalid ballot.
Leahy: So really the point is they’re not serious about being state legislators or really participating in the democratic process in the House of Representatives.
Simon: The tragedy is all those kids outside.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.