Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 national political editor for The Tennessee StarNeil W. McCabe to the newsmaker line to weigh in on Joe Biden’s latest speech and political omens.
Leahy: We welcome now to our newsmaker line, the very best Washington correspondent in the country, Neil W. McCabe. Neil, good morning.
McCabe: Morning, Michael. Good morning, Crom. We’re all very excited about the omens. Everyone remembers from Roman history that birds are very important for telling us what’s going to happen in the future, to tell us about the times that we’re going through now.
You’ll recall the Romans had special priests who would cut open birds and examine their livers. They would watch the way birds flew in the air to see which way the war was going to go. Birds are very important to the Romans.
Leahy:(McCabe laughs) So there was a bird that had a special delivery in Iowa. The legal but not legitimate grifter-in-chief, Joe Biden was giving a speech in a big barn in Iowa. Tell the audience what that special message the bird had for President Joe Biden.
McCabe: He made a special delivery, a little deposit … (Laughter)
Leahy: He’s in his speech, and this little white deposit is dropped on his shoulder just above his lapel flag pin. And it’s sort of, I mean, you can see this white substance kind of dribbling down above his lapel. Did you see, Neil, what the White House said that substance was?
McCabe: It said it was a kernel of corn, right?
Leahy: Yeah, that’s what you call spin. Crom Carmichael, do you want to weigh in on this?
Carmichael: It’s just hysterical. Kate Beddingfield, who is the White House communications director tweeted, if you guys knew your way around a corn silo at all, you’d know it was corn.
Leahy: Well, he wasn’t speaking inside of a corn silo. He was speaking inside of a barn. And if you look at it, your lying eyes will tell you corn does not leave that drizzly white imprint down your lapel.
Carmichael: This is very similar to the White House explanation on inflation. (Leahy laughs) It’s not bird poop. It’s not inflation. It’s corn and Putin.
McCabe: If anybody has spent any time in a barn, they would know that there are often birds in the rafters. So that was just bad advance work, I think.
Leahy: Yes! By the way, that’s a very good point. Knowing that there’s a risk that a bird would, I don’t know, give you a special delivery, why would you hold this in a barn?
McCabe: Because they’ve never actually been in a barn. They’ve seen pictures of barns, and they think they’re amazing, and what a great vista. The president didn’t seem to be aware at first that he was in a barn. I believe he called it a hall at first.
(Laughter) Whatever. It’s tough! It’s almost cruel to ask the guy questions, because he doesn’t know any more than anybody else what’s going on, and he’s supposed to be in charge. And so here we are. But it does remind me of, again, the parallels with James Earl and Jimmy Carter.
McCabe: And when we saw him collapse when he was jogging, or he was attacked by a rabbit.
Leahy: Very similar.
McCabe: George H. W. Bush, vomiting on the Prime Minister of Japan, whatever, as one does. I guess the Japanese assume that was just a custom.
Leahy: But the bird is an omen, I suppose you could say.
Leahy: But related to Jimmy Carter: inflation. Yesterday they came out with the numbers, 8.5 percent. We haven’t seen that since the days of Jimmy Carter. Your thoughts, Neil W. McCabe.
McCabe: So we were coming out of that Carter presidency when Ronald Wilson Reagan took office and it took about two years, and it was a tough transition.
And Reagan said that he finally knew that his policies were working when they stopped calling his policies Reaganomics.
Because with Paul Volcker at the Fed, they had to raise interest rates, and it was crushing. And it really flipped a lot of companies and a lot of businesses.
Businesses had learned to sort of function in a high-inflation environment with a weak dollar. And when the Fed and Reagan took the steps necessary to rein in inflation, everybody had to sort of make those adjustments, and not everybody made the adjustments well.
The other comparison I’ll make to the Carter sort of years is that for four years of Jimmy Carter, there was a man named Reagan waiting in the wings, and he was trying to stay relevant.
He was trying to stay involved, trying not to do too much, but trying to keep his viability as a candidate for 1980. And we see the same thing with Donald J. Trump as he’s sort of waiting.
He’s always there, waiting in the wings, but far more active in politics than Reagan was during that time in the winter between ’76 and ’80.
Leahy: Last week you were down inside Mar-a-Lago and had a chance to see the former president give a speech there.
Leahy: I have a big question for you. Are you ready, Neil W. McCabe?
McCabe: I’m ready, sir.
Leahy: Were there any birds flying around Mar-a-Lago when you were down there? (Laughter)
McCabe: There was an eagle soaring over the grounds.
Carmichael: Very good answer.
McCabe: Which the Romans would tell you that that’s a good sign. The other thing is that the Chinese talk about the mandate of heaven, right? So, you know that a dynasty is going to fall when there’s an earthquake or some kind of natural disaster.
And there was a massive earthquake in China that marked the end of the Cultural Revolution. Basically, a lot of people attribute that earthquake and the attitude of the earthquake to the fall of the Gang of Four in that group. And so we’re just sort of seeing these things.
Biden does not enjoy the mandate of heaven. And bad things are happening, and bad things happen when there’s a bad leader. You talk about the Fisher King, Michael, the land and the King are one.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line Kari Lake, a Republican candidate for governor in Arizona endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Welcome, Kari. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Lake: I’m so happy to be here. Good morning.
Leahy: Well, and as you know, you’re on The Tennessee Star Report. We own and operate 10 state-based newspapers. We also have and have covered your race in Arizona at The Arizona Sun Times by our reporter there, Rachel Alexander. Looks like you’re leading in the polls there. Tell us about why that’s the case.
Lake: I think our message is resonating with Arizona pure and simple. We’re talking about the things that people care about, primarily education. Our moms and dads are standing up, speaking out about the curriculum being taught to their kids.
And unfortunately, in one of the school districts here, they’ve been harassed and doxed and really treated poorly. So I’m speaking out to them. I’m talking about the border and how we can secure the border and stop the flow of drugs that are pouring into our state illegals and who knows who?
We’re seeing a lot of trafficking of human beings and children. And we’re talking about the economy down here as well. I just was speaking, Michael to some elderly people who are on a fixed income, and they said they couldn’t afford to make ends meet and before they barely could. And now they can’t. They can’t afford food anymore.
Leahy: You were for 22 years, the television broadcaster, the anchor at a local Phoenix television news station. You resigned because you didn’t like the way the news was being reported. Tell us a little bit about that and how you made that decision.
Lake: Yes. I worked for 27 years covering Arizona, all the stories, and all the issues, and really got to know the people and the state well. But as you know, journalism has changed quite a bit over the years.
When I came up and learned about journalism and became a journalist, you told both sides of the story. And sometimes there are more than two sides, and you laid it out and you didn’t get opinionated.
But it’s become beyond just telling the story. It’s become opinion bias. And I think it crossed over into being immoral when COVID struck with the refusal to cover stories that would actually help people make them healthier, get them out of quarantine and back to life and open up our economies again.
But the media just didn’t want to cover that. And I felt it was immoral to remain in that position and continue to do the news that they were only interested in telling half the story.
Leahy: Trump endorsed you as the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona last week. I saw you live on my good friend and mentor, Steven K. Bannon’s War Room broadcast.
You were at the embassy, they call it in Washington, D.C., the former Breitbart Embassy. You were at the embassy with Steven Bannon what was that like?
Lake: It was really cool. I thought I was in the wrong place when I showed up. And then, of course, I recognized the set. And it was great to see Steve. And I really was honored to be on the show. He’s had me on numerous times, but not as you said right there at the embassy.
So it was great to be in D.C. and we talked about a lot of issues. He’s been right in front of a lot of the big stories, including the election and COVID, of course, which has affected so many of us. And that’s why, as governor, I want to get tough on China.
We’ve had our political elite sell us out to China, and it’s unconscionable that we would be doing business with the Communist Chinese regime.
We need to cut all of the deals that we’ve made that our political politicians and lobbyists have made, and we need to bring back manufacturing to Arizona. And, frankly, to America, like President Trump was starting to do as president.
Leahy: That’s a great idea. How, as governor, can you cut those deals or end those deals with China and bring more manufacturing into Arizona?
Lake: Well, you have to have a great climate to bring people in a great business climate. And we do. I’m pro-business. And we currently do have a pro-business climate. But we have tribal nations here, 22 different tribes, and they want to bring business to their land.
There’s a lot of land to work with. Our tribal nations want to bring business, and they want to bring manufacturing in and grow their tax base. And I would love to help make that happen and forge those relationships.
And sometimes it’s a lot easier to work with our tribal partners. I just talked to a business that opened up. They are a steel fabricator and they negotiated a deal to work with one of our tribal nations.
And they said it was so much easier because when you’re dealing with the tribes, you’re dealing with relationships. They’re forming relationships. You’re not dealing with working with the city or the county where it’s all bureaucracy.
And so I think there’s some real opportunity there. And I would love to be the governor that helps make some of those deals so we can bring our supply chain back to Arizona. And we’re not worried about what kind of funny business and games China is trying to play with us.
Leahy: Speaking of funny business and games, I saw a terrific interview that you did. Somebody from The Arizona Republic, a formerly good newspaper, but I guess over the past 20 years it’s turned into nothing but left-wing propaganda.
It’s the dominant paper, I guess in the Phoenix area there and a reporter there was going to try to ask you some gotcha questions and you wouldn’t respond because you told them to correct all your other lies about me. Then I might talk to you. That was fabulous.
Lake:(Laughter) It’s sad. As a journalist, I always prided myself in doing good work and being fair. And so I’m saddened to be honest, that our paper has turned into just a leftist activist rag. And I’m not going to give them interviews.
And interestingly, actually, they did a story a few days later about me and they asked for a statement, and I was really busy campaigning that day and I put together a statement on the story that they were doing. They ended up using hardly any of it. They used half of a sentence, not even a sentence.
Leahy: Not fair!
Lake: I think it’s because what I said struck a nerve with them, and they don’t want me having the ability to sway voters to see some of the policies that I’m pushing that will help Arizona.
So they cut a tiny little snippet of my statement, a half a sentence, and used that. So they’re unethical and they’re biased. And when they start to change their ways and actually cover Arizona fairly, then I will start to give them an interview.
Leahy: I got four words for you. Are you ready? (Lake chuckles) Don’t hold your breath. Because I don’t think they’re going to do that. That’s why we started the digital newspaper out there, The Arizona Sun Times, to accurately report what Kari Lake is saying and what everybody is saying.
Lake: You know what I love about your paper? I’ll call it a paper, even though it’s digital, is you don’t get opinionated in there. I mean, in the op-eds, you probably do. But I’ve actually talked to Rachel, and I’ve given her soundbites and I’ll say, well, what about mentioning this?
And she said, you know what? That would be an opinion and I’m not going to put that in the story. And so I really respect that. And it’s a really great outlet for news. I hope that more people find it.
And I’m always happy to share your stories because I think they’re fair. I don’t want somebody to be my cheerleader. I just want them to cover me fairly.
Leahy: Yes. And that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s interesting how you described the way that The Arizona Republic took your statement, which you spent some time on. You got other stuff going on. You gave them a statement and they just took little snippets of it.
We have experienced that same thing when, as you know, we’ve got 10 state-based news sites and then the left and all the big media outlets are trying to pigeonhole us as being disinformation, et cetera. We will engage with them. The same thing happens with us! It’s almost as if they’re talking to each other.
Lake: They might be. (Chuckles) To be honest. You know what they really should do, and I know some news outlets do this. If they can’t use the entire statement, they should have a link in the story where you can see the entire statement. This is what she said. This is part of her statement. And then you can click on the link to find her entire statement.
Leahy: That’s exactly right. Well, that’s what good journalism is, right?
Lake: Yes, but they didn’t want my statement out there because my statement went against their narrative. And I know how they play these games because I worked in the media.
Lake: I’m going to expose them.
Leahy: Well, send us a statement. We’ll publish it in its entirety. How about that?
Lake: I love it.
Leahy: Kari Lake, Republican candidate for governor endorsed by Donald Trump in Arizona thanks so much for joining us. Come back again and good luck.
Leahy: That’s Jim Jordan and Jim is at the center of this kind of controversy. I mean, it’s all to be expected. The regime of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, wants to do an investigation or cover-up, shall we say, with what happened on January six.
Lots of questions here. Tucker Carlson last night talked about it. Roger, what’s your take on this? Queen Nancy, the Despot, who is the speaker of the House, basically elected Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana as members of this, the word really is going to be a Kafkaesque propaganda event.
Simon: Straight out of an Alice in Wonderland kind of thing with Liz Cheney as the titular Republican.
Leahy: Liz Cheney. I saw a clip of her talking on Tucker Carlson’s show last night. I couldn’t believe that this was a Republican.
She said, well, I’m totally supportive of Speaker Pelosi. The minority leader is just totally wrong at the head of her party, by the way.
And, you know, these guys are, well, you can’t have somebody who’s a potential witness be on and so I agree with the Speaker. What is going on with Liz Cheney?
Simon: All right. I see Liz Cheney in a slightly different manner than everybody else. Let’s say, a different angle. And it’s purely psychological.
And what we are looking at with Liz Cheney is what old Sigmund Freud used to call a very severe Electra complex.
Leahy: Okay, now elaborate for those who are psychiatrists.
Simon: Right. An Electra complex is sort of the polar opposite of the Oedipus complex. And it’s a young woman who is not so young anymore. Let’s say a middle-aged woman who has a thing for her Dad.
Leahy: She’s trying to Curry favor with her dad. That’s a polite way to put it.
Simon: It’s kind of a love affair with the father anyway, and not consummated, of course, I’m talking about psychologically. And as we know, I interviewed both. I interviewed Dick Cheney.
Leahy: Oh. When did you interview Dick Cheney?
Simon: I interviewed Dick Cheney just after, I guess, after Obama first came in.
Leahy: Where was this interview?
Simon: It was at the Reagan Library.
Simon: Yes. It was a very fancy interview physically because you set up a camera above the Air Force One that they have in the regular library.
So you’re looking down at Air Force. And I’m sort of at that point in awe of Dick Cheney because I agreed, sadly and incorrectly, with some of his policies.
Simon: He’s a bright man, though. There’s no question about it. And in with Dick walked Liz because they were always inseparable.
And, in fact, I hadn’t known that Liz would come there. But I became friendly and talked with her and all. And it was very clear that she was the sidekick to her father and his policy.
And, of course, his most famous policy was the Iraq War. Which many of us favored in those days. I don’t know where you were on it.
I was for it. And I was wrong. And Dick Cheney in a more important manner. But now roll forward many years.
Leahy: Let me just go back to that interview. What was it like interviewing Dick Cheney?
Simon: It was not a good interview on my end. Dick Cheney was fine. My interview didn’t probe very much because I wanted to interview the vice president and that’s a very big deal.
Leahy: It is a big deal. And perceptions of Dick Cheney – of Cheney dramatically…
Leahy: Since he left office, his star has not declined quite as much as George W. Bush’s because he himself has been silent about a lot of things.
Leahy: George W. Bush has just jabbered on like an idiot on immigration.
Simon: Well, it was always said that Dick Cheney was the brains of that administration. And it’s probably true.
Leahy: You look at George W. Bush talking today and you say, how did we elect that guy president? Not the brightest bulb.
Simon: Not the brightest bulb. But Cheney was a smart guy. He just made a very bad decision, which happens. And in any case, it was something that everybody learned.
We all thought maybe that if you win a war in Iraq, they’ll turn it to Denmark. But somehow it didn’t.
Leahy: Gee. Now that’s a funny line, because Iraqis, Danish people, they’re a little different. Culture, a little different.
Simon: To say the least. Anyways, what Liz Cheney is trying to do at all costs is to preserve the reputation of her dad. And that’s what we’re watching, and it’s destroying everything. I mean, she’s nuts. (Chuckles)
Leahy: She really is. And it’s a sad thing to watch. And thankfully, she’s gonna be gone. And once she loses her position in Congress, no one’s gonna pay attention to her.
Leahy: I got one person who might pay attention to her. You ready?
Simon: Go for it.
Leahy: Jeff Bezos, because, you know, he gave $100 million to Van Jones to do civility. Van Jones. Mr. I-love-Critical-Race-Theory Van Jones. That guy.
Simon: Jeff Bezos can afford to do anything he wants, but I don’t think Liz Cheney is good enough on TV and radio to preserve, frankly.
Leahy:(Laughter) So now let me explore your theory a little bit more. She’s there. How is she preserving her father’s legacy by siding with Nancy Pelosi and against the leader of the Republicans in the House? Explain that?
Simon: Okay, here it is. Donald Trump trashed her father and trashed the Iraq war all the time. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.
The Republican Party is now Trump. Let’s be real. And she hates him. He trashed her father. I’m talking really primitive stuff.
Leahy: That’s an explanation that makes sense. I think from what I’ve read, that her father does despise Donald Trump.
Simon: Oh yeah.
Leahy: But in a defensive way. If we were having a private conversation with Dick Cheney right now, and if he was being honest, he would say that. I’m sure he would say that.
Simon: Oh, I’m sure he would. And now he doesn’t have to say it publicly because he’s got his daughter doing it for him.
Leahy: And it’s not serving her well.
Simon: It’s serving Nancy Pelosi.
Leahy: And it’s not serving her father.
Simon: Not really.
Leahy: But he’s like 80 or something like that?
Simon: When I interviewed him, the most interesting part of the interview was when he was showing all his heart maintenance things. He’s had several operations, and he opened them up for us on camera.
Leahy: No kidding.
Simon: Yeah, it was interesting. That part was actually medically interesting. He was treated with the most modern equipment.
Leahy: So he’s not in sufficient robust health to go out and be very active. He’s in maintenance mode.
Simon: This is some time ago, that interview. I mean, he’s done very well physically, actually.
Leahy: Considering everything. But still, he’s a behind-the-scenes guy right now, but he clearly hates Donald Trump. And his daughter hates Donald Trump. And she cares nothing about anything but that.
Leahy: In studio with us, our very good friend, mayor of Maury County, that bastion of freedom and turbocharged engine of economic growth, Andy Ogles.
Andy, over the weekend, while you were relaxing on Dauphin Island with your family – Did you get back during the weekend?
Ogles: Oh, yeah, we did.
Leahy: You got back during the weekend. So you were able to probably watch the goings-on at the 2021 CPAC conference. The Conservative Political Action Conference. That got started, I guess, way back in 1973, right?
Ogles: Oh, wow.
Leahy: A long time ago. And it was really where Ronald Reagan first rose to prominence a long time ago. So that’s a long time ago.
It’s almost 50 years now. I just have to bring this to you. We’re going to get to what former President Donald Trump said there and what his reception was.
Governor Lee was invited to go down there and he was on a panel. And I got to tell you the name of this panel. Wait for it … He was on a panel with another governor, Governor Stitt of Oklahoma.
And the moderator was Matt Schlapp, who is the president of the group that sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference.
It was “A conversation on leadership, justice, and jobs in the age of wokeism.” (Ogles chuckles) Now, Governor Lee was there, and our headline tells it all.
It was like a 22-minute advertisement if you will. Schlapp was basically shilling for Governor Bill Lee and Governor Stitt of Oklahoma. Our headline:
Which, I think criminal justice reform is fine. But they didn’t ask him any questions about his own woke administration. I felt, generally speaking, that CPAC is gone. Well, it’s not quite the pure conservative experience that it was back in the era of Ronald Reagan and leading up to Donald Trump. That’s just my view.
Ogles: Yes. I think when you look at an event like that, it’s not really a journalistic event. There’s no investigative reporting, per se.
And I think for someone like Matt Schlapp, he reads the press releases, and probably from their perspective, the governor is – or appears to be – conservative.
But my guess is, they didn’t scratch the surface to see that Penny Schwinn and the others and its plural in his administration have gone full awoke and really nothing’s been done about it.
Leahy: So I’m going to try to get on Matt Schlapp in here because I’m going to ask him these hard questions. And I think he knows. (Laughter)
I think he knows that Governor Bill Lee is no conservative. He’s more of an establishment Republican guy. He was a deputy policy advisor in the George W. Bush administration.
My view, not yours, but my view. I think history is showing that George W. Bush was not a very good president, frankly. And he’s not a very good post-president.
But that’s just my view. But the world in 2021 is about where this country is today, and if we can make America great again.
We did a great job I think for the four years that Donald Trump was the president of the United States. Now, with the legal but not legitimate occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who is flouting and violating our immigration laws, looks pretty troublesome.
Former President Trump went down to CPAC, and it was a barn burner. He was very well received.
Ogles: He was kind of the crescendo, the highlight, the grand finale of CPAC. He spoke on Sunday. And, of course, they had a straw poll. Now, keep in mind, CPAC attendees are going to lean conservative.
Leahy: Oh, yeah.
Ogles: Trump just dominated that poll. And with Ron DeSantis coming in a distant –
Leahy: Very distant –
Ogles: Very distant second.
Leahy: I think it was Trump at 70 percent. They do the presidential strap polls and they’re more kind of fun than anything else, I think.
They’re not typical scientific polls or the electorate. But among enthused conservatives who attended CPAC, it was a runaway. We want Donald Trump for 2024 – 70 percent, and DeSantis got 20 percent, and nobody else even got one percent.
Ogles: It was crazy. I was surprised that Kristi Noem – I’m a fan of Governor Noem’s – she didn’t even register on the radar. And it’s not a scientific poll.
But that being said, when you look historically, Reagan got traction there and Rand Paul when he launched his presidential bid, Ted Cruz.
They really kind of spoke to the base to get some of that traction and some of that initial momentum. So it has validity, at least in the beginnings of a campaign. But that being said, it was Trump’s moment for sure.
Leahy: Trump’s had a lot of moments of late. Except, Andy, you can’t find any of these recent moments on YouTube. Did you see this?
Ogles: Oh yeah. They took down his speech, which was Orwellian.
Leahy: It is Orwellian. This claim that they are fair arbiters of public discourse, what a joke that is. They can’t take a punch, shall we say.
And they won’t allow anybody to take a punch at them, even though it’s well deserved because there are a bunch of Big Tech bullies.
Ogles: And I think there’s a growing appetite in Congress to do something about big tech and maybe to treat them more like a utility. And, of course, that’s not going to happen the next year or so.
But after the 2022 midterms and Republicans sweep both Houses of Congress, if I’m Big Tech, I would expect to be broken up in some way or capacity. Because I think that’s coming and it’s coming hard and fast.
Leahy: Well, that is interesting to see how this will all play out. I’m hearing increasingly that the general populace is very very tired of all the overreaches of the Biden maladministration.
That’s what I’m hearing. And I think on our side, I’m hearing and seeing resilience and enthusiasm for taking back the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. Even though now that is still 16 months away. It’s a long time.
Ogles: But, I mean, everybody’s getting geared up. I think more people are paying attention. Anecdotally you look at Moms for Liberty Group out of Williamson County.
Those types of liberty groups are popping up all over the country. And it’s individuals. You’re going to expect someone like myself or you to be engaged in politics and maybe be seen at some of these conservative events.
But when you have soccer moms who are busy and they’ve got agendas and kids and all the stuff that goes with that and suddenly they’re going to political rallies.
If you’re not a conservative, if you didn’t lead through COVID, you’ve got problems.
Leahy: From our story about former President Trump’s appearance: Sunday night at CPAC in Dallas, former President Trump took the stage to a standing ovation and a rowdy crowd while headlining the large gathering of CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Sunday.
In a speech that lasted 90 minutes, the former commander-in-chief highlighted a variety of key areas that Republicans across the country are focused on including the 2022 midterms, the Biden administration’s policies, and his lawsuit.
He has a lawsuit against Big Tech platforms. With the help of everyone here today, we will defeat the radical left, the socialist Marxists, and the critical race theorists.
We will secure our borders. We will stop left-wing canceled culture, we will restore free speech and free elections, and We Will Make…here’s the punchline…
America Great Again, Trump said of the prospects of 2022. What do you think? You look at this phrase, We Will Make America Great Again.
In 2020 he said Keep America Great, now it’s regressing back to the Orwellian Democrat dystopia. Will we make it great again, Andy?
Ogles: I think he’s handing out endorsements for the upcoming elections in 2022. And if you look here in Tennessee, it’s now July. Today’s date is the 13th and early voting in Tennessee starts in 12 months.
And so the election, whether it be governor or Congress or whatever, is a mere 12 months away. And I think that’s the case across the country.
And I think President Biden is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time he does something stupid, which is about every five minutes, it’s just a win for the Republicans.
It’s a win for Trump. This idea that they’re going to go door to door on vaccinations – I don’t think that works out well in rural Tennessee.
Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Julio Gonzalez, CEO and founder of Engineered Tax Services to the newsmakers line to discuss his company’s assistance to small businesses and the tax charges facing the Trump organization in New York.
Leahy: We are joined on a newsmaker line by a very interesting guy, Julio Gonzalez, who is the founder of Engineered Tax Services and also is an expert on all of these efforts by New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney to kind of cook up a case against Donald Trump and his affiliates. Good morning, Julio. Thanks for joining us.
Gonzalez: Good morning! Thanks for having me.
Leahy: So, a national tax reform expert. About your bio, very interesting. You founded the Gonzalez Family Office. Typically, a family office manages wealth created by a family.
Did you create the wealth, or was it your dad or somebody else in your family that created that wealth?
Gonzalez: Yeah. I created the wealth. The first generation. My family escaped Cuba in ’58 and came here and gave me the opportunity to prosper in this great country.
Leahy: Wow! And how did you create that wealth?
Gonzalez: Today I have the largest tax credit firm in the country. We work with about 12,000 accounting firms, CPA firms, to make sure that their small business owners, their clients, get all the tax credits that all the big corporations and the Big Tech companies enjoy every day.
Leahy: So your clients are thousands of CPA firms, and you tell them how their clients can understand how to create and work the tax system properly.
Gonzalez: That’s what we try to do. Absolutely. We want to preserve all their clients’ wealth so they can continue to prosper and grow jobs and grow the economy.
Leahy: Well, what a great idea. How did you come up with this idea?
Gonzalez: I was doing that in the ’80s and ’90s for the big accounting world, and we were working with public companies.
And I realized that if you’re a smaller CPA, smaller accounting firm, you’re just not going to have those resources and that technical knowledge to help your small business clients.
So that’s what we did to try to start in 2001 being a resource to the accounting community to make sure that when their clients are investing in their businesses, that they get rewards.
Leahy: Man, I love your services. You have an office here in Nashville as well?
Gonzalez: We do. I was just in your town last week.
Leahy: Why didn’t you give me a call? We could have gone to lunch!
Gonzalez:(Chuckles) I had so much fun meeting with all the great people there in Nashville.
Leahy: That’s great. That’s fantastic. Did you get a CPA? Did you go to the University of Florida? Where did you go to college?
Gonzalez: Actually, I went to the University of Colorado, and got my degrees in accounting. And we now have over 800 employees nationwide that are working with our accounting firms and their small businesses.
Leahy: Where are you based?
Gonzalez: We’re based in Palm Beach, Florida.
Leahy: Oh, Yeah. I got to go visit you.
Gonzalez: Come visit. We’ll bring you over to Mara Lago.
Leahy: I will! It sounds like a lot of fun. I look at these trumped-up, excuse the pun there, trumped-up charges against the CFO of the Trump Organization brought by the attorney general of New York and the district attorney there.
And I’m saying this seems like a mundane tax matter. They’re saying, well, they should have declared fringe benefits income. Doesn’t it usually work where they send a letter off to the accountant and the accountant says, “oh, well, maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t. Here’s our case.” Is that how it usually works?
Gonzalez: That’s exactly right. How it always works is that the New York State Tax Department would review these returns.
They’re constantly on audit with the Trump Organization. And if they had any issue and they felt it was criminal, they would bring in the attorney general, and the attorney general would review it.
But this is not the case, right? It didn’t go from the department of tax over to the attorney general. The attorney general went and got these tax returns and then brought together a grand jury of nine people that know nothing about tax.
And they basically said, based on the facts of the attorney general, we have a crime. This never happens in my world.
Leahy: In my world as my friend Glenn Reynolds, the professor of constitutional law at the University of Tennessee, and also Instapundit.
Instapundit.com. He calls it basically a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if the information was brought by the district attorney.
That’s the case here. Do we live in a nation of laws, or do we live in a nation of left-wing ideologues who want to go after people they oppose politically?
Gonzalez: If you’re waking up in New York this week, it’s certainly the latter. I can’t imagine being a business owner or a CPA firm or an accounting firm in New York and think that everything I do now, even if it’s in sync with the law, could be scrutinized by the attorney general and could be put in front of a grand jury.
And we have the ham sandwich that’s convicted. I don’t know how you even do business there anymore.
Leahy: Let me tell you something. We’ve got here in Tennessee, we’ve got a company, TheStar News Network, that I’m the CEO of.
We have news sites in eight states. Tennessee, The Tennessee Star and in Florida, The Florida Capital Star, and six other states. Now we were looking at maybe doing something in New York.
I’m never going into New York. I’m originally from Upstate New York. Why would I go up and open a business in New York when I know the left-wing ideologue attorney general is immediately going to open an investigation of me or anybody else who’s a conservative there?
Gonzalez: Exactly right. I’m sure when you grew up there, it was wonderful to be in New York. But look, I mean, now they have the highest tax rates.
They’re taxing everything. They’re coming up with new tax laws. And now the attorney general basically oversees the tax community.
And we see with this Trump Organization what I think is a prelude to something much bigger and that they’re going to do this to all the big corporations there.
And it’s not a good precedent. And I think that ultimately, it’s going to be very problematic.
And I got to think that there’s a lot of companies like yours that are like, “we want to be in New York. We’re looking at this. We’re looking at the high tax rates but we can’t.”
And by the way, and your state has been the big benefactor of what’s going on in New York because a lot of great companies have moved to Nashville and move down here to South Florida because they just can’t take the politics in New York anymore.
Leahy: Julio Gonzalez, the head of Engineered Tax Services, thanks for joining. On the web at juliogonzalez.com. Thanks so much for joining us. Come back again, if you would please.