One America News Networks’ Neil W. McCabe Reveals Knowledge of Fiber Trunks Running Under Penn Biden Center

One America News Networks’ Neil W. McCabe Reveals Knowledge of Fiber Trunks Running Under Penn Biden Center

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 Neil W. McCabe from One America News Network to the newsmaker line to discuss breaking news regarding the knowledge of fiber trunks which run underneath the Penn Biden Center that housed classified documents.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, our great friend with One American News Network, formerly our lead political correspondent with The Star News Network, now top-gov tracker, based in Tallahassee, Florida, reports on all things Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis, Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.

McCabe: Good morning, Michael. Good morning, Carol. Good to be with you.

Swain: Good morning.

Leahy: One America News Network has offices at 101 Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. When you go on the elevator there, do you see the sign for the Penn Biden Center?

McCabe: (Laughs) I haven’t been there recently. I used to see it all the time. That’s a very secure building. You can’t even get into the lobby without some security guard saying, hey, where are you going? And then you say, I’m going to get some coffee. He’s like, oh, okay. (Laughter)

Leahy: We have a story. Our own Bradley Vasoli for The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Star News Network. We’ve got a story about this 13,800 square-foot Penn Biden Center in that building where you could get in and out of often.

They had a whole bunch of interns from the University of Pennsylvania running around while they had these classified documents there. How they got there, no one knows from Biden’s time as vice president just running around there. It sounds very secure to me.

McCabe: Yes. I’ll break some news, I guess. There are two major fiber trunks under the District of Columbia, and one of them passes underneath that building.

Swain: Oh, my.

McCabe: This is owned by the Brotherhood of Carpenters. The carpenters union owns that building. That’s why there’s never any protests; there’s never any trouble. (Leahy laughs) I don’t know if you’ve ever run in with the carpenters, but the best thing you can say to a group of union carpenters is, have a nice day, sir. I’ll walk around. (Laughter)

Leahy: What’s the significance of the fiber trunk running directly under that building?

McCabe: It’s just something that major, major communications and data pass over that fiber trunk. And so I don’t know if you can tap it.  I took science in high school, but I don’t really know if you can tap into it.

Somebody who was involved in the inaugural planning for George W. Bush’s two inaugurations mentioned it to me the other day. And I mentioned it to you. Just to throw that against the wall.

Leahy: Just in case there’s some communication coming out of the Penn.

McCabe: But they said that it was a security consideration when they were planning the inauguration because, obviously, the inauguration is held at the Capitol. 101 Constitution is maybe a quarter mile at best away from Capitol Hill.

Leahy: It’s right there.

McCabe: At One America, the rooftop shot of the dome, you’re literally right on top of the dome for those shots.

Leahy: Very interesting. The big news that’s come out is, oh, the first thing, Karen Jean-Pierre, perhaps absolutely the worst liar in America and the worst press secretary for a president in modern American history, she came out and said, well, they found this one document November 2nd.

And we’re just telling about it now. And that’s it. Oh, there’s a second set of documents, wait for it in a box in a garage next to Corvette, and then a couple of other documents surfaced. What do you make of all this stuff? Where does this go?

McCabe: When Trump left office, there was some question in Trump’s mind about whether he had won that election in 2020 or not. And a lot of that transition time was spent contesting and questioning and looking into things. And so there’s a phrase I use all the time, running and gunning.

There’s a lot of running and gunning as you run the country and you run the world, and you’re also contesting an election and an impeachment. There’s a lot going on. And so the idea that the GSA was supposed to pack up the President’s stuff, put it in a secure warehouse as they do for everybody, you know, these things never happen. However, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. knew, like in January of 2013 that he had four years to pack up his boxes.

Leahy: Good point.

McCabe: And when he said he wasn’t going to run for president after Hillary Clinton made a deal with Obama, he knew, hey, I got to start packing up my stuff. And then if you look at the charge that Garland gave Jack Smith, he says, I want you to look at everything, everything you could possibly do. I would argue it’s a violation.

Leahy: This was a special counsel investigating Trump.

McCabe: I would say that’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment ban on risks of assistance and open warrants, where you just sort of say that the royal officials were just allowed to look at everything until they found something. The Constitution says you can’t do that. With Robert Hur and these other investigations into Joe Biden it’s very specific and there’s no fishing expedition.

We’ll see how this plays out. But if Biden had that much time to plan his transition to private life and he also knew what he was going to be doing in private life, I think that the specific documents that he took with him are documents that, A, he did not want floating around. He didn’t want them in the public record or at the archives and/or two.

Second thing is, there was a document he needed as a reference for his own business dealings. And so who’s to say what happened? We’ll never find out. Jean-Pierre said we’re cooperating with counsel. But that’s like, the editor-in-chief of The Star News network telling one of his reporters or editors that he’s cooperating with his reporter. (Laughter)

Leahy: That’s very good. Carol Swain has a question for you.

Swain: Neil, do you believe anyone is digging into the anonymous Chinese donor that pretty much financed that center?

McCabe: No one’s digging into it, Carol, because they know exactly who it is.

Leahy: Oh, do you know who it is? There was, $40 million in anonymous donors, but there was one big one for $14 million.

Swain: What did he get in exchange for that?

McCabe: The Treasury Department has a record of every wire transfer that goes in and out, and everything that’s over a certain amount gets triggered. It’s one of those interesting records, whatever they call it. That’s if it’s over $10,000 something. If $40 million is coming in from China to the Penn Center, they know all about it.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Penn Biden Center.










Carol Swain on Teacher Union Greed, DEI, and the Suffering of America’s Students

Carol Swain on Teacher Union Greed, DEI, and the Suffering of America’s Students

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 all-star panelist Carol Swain in studio to discuss her recent op-ed which tackles the truth about teachers’ unions greed, DEI, and induced suffering of America’s students.

Leahy: In studio with us, our very good friend, all-star panelist Carol Swain. Carol, there you go again. You wrote a piece at Fox News about education. I love the headline. Some people didn’t like it so much. This was published on Monday.

Here’s the headline: Teachers’ Unions Locked Kids out of Schools to Get More of Your Money, Not for Safety. Subtitle: Teachers’ Unions and Democrats Want to Perpetuate COVID Pandemic Forever. Carol, what kind of reaction have you gotten to that op-ed?

Swain: People who are supporters of teachers’ unions, don’t like it very much, but our children suffered tremendously. In fact, the 8th grade and math scores dropped eight points nationwide, and it varied by state.

But they have projected that these students will have a $70,000 lifetime loss in earnings and that the states where the affected children are, their economies will be affected, and that some of them will never recover.

Leahy: That’s the point, isn’t it? If you aren’t able by a certain age, and I think here the retention law here in Tennessee says third grade, I think that’s probably where you start running into very serious damage going forward in terms of your sense and simply your capability to reach a certain ceiling of intellectual thought.

If you can’t read and write by third grade, for instance, you’re just never going to get to the level that you need to be to be your most effective thinker and doer.

Swain: The disgrace is that the teachers’ unions did not rely on science. They pressed for more and more money. They got billions of dollars, supposedly for safety. They used it for DEI, they used it for salaries, and they used it for all kinds of things that had nothing to do with education.

And when experts were saying that children, their probability of catching COVID or spreading COVID were just minuscule, they still demanded that the schools be closed.

And so our children suffered not because of the science or the risk of COVID but because they had an agenda that had nothing to do with the children. It was a political agenda, not an educational agenda.

Leahy: Interestingly enough, there was an undercover video just released yesterday by Accuracy in Media. We covered it at our The Ohio Star news site. It was about a school system in Columbus, Ohio. And they got the executive director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, who knew that that was an important job in a school, but that’s what they have in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

The state legislature there said you’re not going to teach critical race theory. He basically undercover said, well, we’re going to teach whatever we want.

Swain: I mean, that’s what they do. And I guess yesterday in the early wee hours of the morning, I was on Fox and Friends First.

Leahy: By the way, when you say kind of with a smile, (Swain chuckles) I can relate to this, Carol, you say in the early wee hours of the morning. Just describe what time you have to get up and what time your hit is on Fox and Friends First.

Swain: My hit was 4:15 a.m., which means I have to be camera ready sitting in front of my computer. And so I had to get up at 3:30 am to get dressed and put on my makeup. I get dressed from the top-up Mike. (Leahy chuckles) Well, that’s enough about that.

But we talked about Governor Youngkin in Virginia. There were seven Fairfax County schools that withheld notification to kids that were National Merit Scholars that…

Leahy: They had, they won, and they get a scholarship.

Swain: So they were not able to have that honor and to be able to put it on the college applications.

Leahy: That will help your acceptance rate if you’re a National Merit Scholar.

Swain: And you can get hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money as well. But the superintendent, who happens to be a black woman, I don’t remember her name, where she has this thing, equity. What was her quote? Basically, equity means everyone’s going to have the same outcome.

Even the kids that are just struggling, they’re going to have the same outcome. And one of the reasons why they didn’t report the scores is that they didn’t want to make the kids feel bad that had not been as successful. When they got caught, some of the administrators said, well, it was an error, but they did it two years in a row.

Leahy: It wasn’t an error, it was intentional.

Swain: And that school system paid $450,000 to a DEI person. And Michael, most of the DEI consultants and experts, for one thing, there’s not a real license, and there are majors of fields that end in studies.

We used to laugh and say, well, where were these people get a job? Well, they became your DEI officers, and they’re pulling down six-figure salaries. And it’s really taken away from education.

Leahy: To promote, really, things that are anti-American.

Swain: They’re not promoting education.

Leahy: That’s the truth.

Swain: And here’s the thing, are they harmed the high achieving students without benefiting the ones that were less accomplished or less hard-working or had less ability.

And so no one benefited. And during my years of being a professor, National Merit Scholars have been people from different backgrounds, social classes, and as well as races, and ethnicity. So racial and ethnic minorities, certainly in Fairfax County, were disadvantaged along with white children.

Leahy: And to your point, in this undercover video in Columbus, Ohio that we have up at The Ohio Star and The Tennessee Star, the executive director there, Matthew Boaz, said the following quote there’s more than one way to skin a cat if you pass a bill banning critical race theory. But if you don’t cover programming and extracurricular activities, the message will get out there. Oops!

Swain: They’re doing it in math, science…

Leahy: Everywhere.

Swain: They know exactly what they are doing.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Carol Swain” by Carol Swain.




Carol Swain’s Busy Schedule Pushing Back Against the Left

Carol Swain’s Busy Schedule Pushing Back Against the Left

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 all-star panelist Carol Swain in studio to talk about her busy schedule and aspects of her life story.

Leahy: It’s time for some fun, folks. Our very good friend with a big smile on her face right now, Carol Swain, an all-star panelist, former professor at Vanderbilt University, and currently now the distinguished senior fellow…

Swain: For constitutional studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the most effective public policy foundation in the nation.

Leahy: I mean, it really is. They do a great job there. And of course, you go back and forth occasionally down there. It is always so much fun to have you here. You’ve been so busy, Carol, that we haven’t had you in studio enough.

But there are a lot of people that have claims on your time. I see you on Fox and Friends and all the time on Fox News. And I think on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, you were very busy. You were on the Steve Bannon show.

Swain: I certainly was. And also on The Sean Morgan Report and The Epoch Times.

Leahy: So high level of visibility. You’ve been on Steve Bannon’s show WarRoom before, haven’t you?

Swain: Many times.

Leahy: Many times. And he said one of the most popular shows that he had last year was the Box a Day show rated the day after Christmas where I talked about my life. He had me on for an entire hour. But you get me for 90 minutes today. (Chuckles)

Leahy: (Laughs) I know. Doing better than Steve Bannon. (Laughter) More time with Carol. But it’s interesting, you are prominent as a conservative voice out there, and you’re seen in a lot of places.

You’re going to be seen. By the way, this Fox Nation special that’s going to be broadcast live from The Factory in Franklin a week from today, Pete Hegseth is the host. You’re going to be part of that?

Swain: I think I’m one of the panelists.

Leahy: It’s good if the topic is miseducation of America, that they have somebody who’s an expert on education in America. That would be you, Carol Swain.

Swain: That series started, I guess I’m going to say, well, maybe it was just a year ago, but it has reached millions of people and it’s so popular. That’s why we are continuing it.

Leahy: And the other thing you’re working on and I’m curious about it because I’ve known you for a long time, you’re actually a very private person.

Swain: Really? I tell everybody everything.

Leahy: Not everything, because there are parts of you…

Swain: I’m not telling you where I’m going tomorrow.

Leahy: That’s right. You’re known for your political views, your academic research on issues of critical race theory and education, and immigration.

Swain: Immigration.

Leahy: And your views on the Constitution. But in your personal life, you have outlined the general themes of your personal life. But people don’t really know the details. And frankly…

Swain: They really don’t.

Leahy: Because they want to know. Inquiring minds want to know.

Swain: When I Google myself and the stuff that comes up from these celebrity sites where they do these profiles. They just totally make up lies.

Leahy: They make up stuff about Carol Swain. I’m shocked, I’m shocked.

Swain: About everyone. So I would never trust those sites. They don’t know anything about some details of my life, and they admit they don’t. (Chuckles)

Leahy: This is why when Steve Bannon had you on for an hour on the day after Christmas, and it was one of the most popular episodes of WarRoom, I can tell you why. I mean, I know why.

People want to know how did Carol Swain become Carol Swain? And the general outline that you were born into poverty in southwestern Virginia, not too far from where Booker T. Washington was born.

Swain: I have the three-minute elevator speech, one of 12. Rural poverty, high school dropout, married at 16, GED, went to college, got one of five degrees, and went on to become a university professor. None of it was planned. And then late in life, I had a Christian aversion experience. Most people know that part.

Leahy: That’s the elevator speech. But, Carol…

Swain: There’s a lot in between. (Chuckles)

Leahy: See, this is it, right? This is it. I know there’s more than a little bit of drama in there.

Swain: I think there are two or three movies in me.

Leahy: That’s my point. Inquiring minds want to know. People are interested because people see you on Fox and Friends or Fox News.

Swain: I used to be a paid contributor for CNN. (Laughs)

Leahy: See, this is something I didn’t know. They stopped paying you when you became a Christian?

Swain: No, they fired me when they discovered that I was more conservative. I was still a Democrat. They didn’t renew the contract.

Leahy: See, I didn’t know that CNN fired you. There’s a difference.  If you have a contract for a period of time and it ends, they don’t renew it. Okay, that happens. But see, I didn’t know that you were a paid contributor to CNN for a period of time.

(Chuckles) But people really want to know. The outline of this story is interesting, right, the general outline. But you have been very circumspect shall we say.

Swain: Really?

Leahy: I’m just saying people want to know.

Swain: I want to answer a question. Ask me anything, and I might answer it for you.

Leahy: Carol, I don’t want to take away the excitement of your memoir when it comes out. I think your memoir, your personal story is so interesting. And you’re going to have to give up some more details along the way about your personal life and how you had the gumption to identify where you were going.

And how you stuck to your guns throughout all this when basically, there are huge pressures to get you to conform to something that was, I’ll put it generally speaking, more in the neighborhood of victimhood. I would generally say that you are the opposite of someone who promotes victimhood. Would I have that right?

Swain: I’m wired to push back.

Leahy: The pushback queen. (Laughter)

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Carol Swain” by Carol Swain.












Huey: Harmeet Dhillon May Be ‘A Hero on Fox, but It’s All a Facade’

Huey: Harmeet Dhillon May Be ‘A Hero on Fox, but It’s All a Facade’

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 California refugee, Craig Huey, to weigh in on the choices for the new chair of the RNC and why Harmeet Dhillon is not the right one.

Leahy: In studio with us, are very good friend, California refugee, Tennessee resident, marketer extraordinaire entrepreneur, and good friend Craig Huey. Craig, it’s always fun to have you in here because I learn something every time you’re in here.

Huey: Michael, it’s always great to be with you.

Leahy: (Laughs) And by the way, the cheeriness that you hear in Craig Huey’s voice, you’ll always see a smile on his face when he’s in the studio. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you not smile. I’m sure there are times when you don’t smile.

Huey: Very few. (Chuckles)

Leahy: But mostly you’re smiling, which is good. We need smiling these days. You’re from California.

Huey: I am!

Leahy: Next week there will be an election for the new Republican Financial Committee chairman. We’ve got three options. None of them are good, in my view. Ronna McDaniel, who’s failed three consecutive times, Harmeet Dhillon, who is an attorney with a few asterisks associated with her, and then Mike Lindell, who makes pillows and is involved in a huge lawsuit.

Those are the three options. And I think maybe only Harmeet and Ronna will be nominated. I don’t know if Mike Lindell is actually even going to be nominated. You got to be nominated to be considered.

Huey: Of course.

Leahy: And we will actually get others to come in and talk about Ronna. But you know Harmeet very well.

Huey: I do.

Leahy: Because you were in California with her.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: You’ve got a piece coming out.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: And you’re going to weigh in on this?

Huey: I am. And, you know, here’s the thing. This is a very important job and I don’t see somebody actually running for this job with, in Republican National Committee, the RNC, that’s capable of turning things around. And we have a presidential election two years away!

What happens with the RNC can make or break it. I want to remind you, Michael, that they have failed year after year in the election, to get out the vote, failed to keep up with the technology, and failed to do the damage.

Leahy: On the get-out-the-vote, they haven’t even identified or understood the problem. The problem is in those states where it’s legal to early vote, early vote folks,  they didn’t recognize that. And that’s right on Ronna’s doorstep.

Huey: Right, totally. For those states where it’s legal to do ballot harvesting, she’s failed to do that. And the data that’s needed for a candidate to win, she’s failed to do that.

Leahy: The other problem with Ronn McDaniel is she’s surrounded by grifters.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: The biggest budget grifters in the United States of America are consultants of the Republican National.

Huey: It’s so sad. They’re totally ineffective. Donald Trump, when he won in 2016, he did it outside of the RNC without even looking at them.

Leahy: We’ve got a piece at The Tennessee Star, come by a friend, Mark Meckler, the co-founder of the Tea Party movement, now the head of the Convention of States. Basically, he says voters can no longer tolerate business as usual. It’s time for Ronn McDaniel to go.

I won’t disagree with it. However, you know, Harmeet Dhillon, the other leading candidate. What do you have to say about Harmeet? Do you recommend her?

Huey: Harmeet is somebody who’s very nice. But let me just tell you. I have been involved in the California Republican Party for about 25, 30 years.

Leahy: You ran for Congress and almost won in a special election.  Was that 2010 or 2000?

Huey: 2011. Special election.

Leahy: You lost by like, five points.

Huey: All we had to do is change about 1200 votes. But here’s the thing, Michael. Through this time, when she moved up into leadership in California, I have seen her fight the conservatives, she has fought change. She has not embraced early voting, she has not embraced ballot harvesting…

Leahy: Whoa, whoa, what? Now wait just a minute. Everything I read from Harmeet Dhillon is she’s now talking about early voting.

Huey: She is. So here’s the thing. She has failed to implement it at all or even be vocal about it in California. Instead, she’s positioned herself with great PR. She’s on Fox all the time.

Leahy: She’s on Tucker Carlson. She’s on Laura Ingraham. She went to Dartmouth with Laura Ingraham. They were classmates.

Huey: She’s become a hero on Fox, but it’s all facade.

Leahy: Hold on. This is what Craig Huey’s saying about Harmeet Dhillon.

Huey: That’s right.

Leahy: She’s become a hero on Fox.

Huey: Yes.

Leahy: That’s a significant statement.

Huey: I’m telling you the truth because I’ve seen her in action. And the fact is, she’s making millions by positioning herself as a religious and civil rights attorney.

Her law firm is making millions taking on case after case after case, and she’s got a great business model, she’s got great PR, and this is only propelling her even higher. And the fact is, she is saying some of the right things, but she has no track record, plus she doesn’t know how to implement it.

Leahy: To use a Texas phrase to describe a California attorney, would it be fair to say, when it comes to early voting and political operations, she’s all hat and no cattle? (Laughter)

Huey: Yes, that’s very good. It’s Texas, not Tennessee, but it works.

Leahy: If you’re out there and you support Harmeet Dhillon, we’re happy to talk about it. They’re going to select they’re going to go out to Dana Point, California, I think next week.

Huey: Beautiful. Right on the ocean.

Leahy: Ronna, she keeps making mistakes. There’s a challenge. Our radio partner in Virginia, Georgia, and Pennsylvania is John Fredericks, who also has a program on Real America’s Voice where Steve Bannon has his WarRoom.

Both Real America’s Voice and John Fredericks are hosting a public debate. Harmeet has accepted and Michael Lindell has accepted. Ronna McDaniel has not accepted. I think that’s a mistake on her part.

Huey: A total mistake. But you know what? She feels she’s got it. She feels that she’s too vulnerable if there is a debate. So I can kind of understand her backing out. It looks bad, but I’m not sure what’s going to affect the problem if the Republican National Committee is controlled by Republican consultants.

Leahy: The grifter club. (Laughs)

Huey: It’s controlled by the crypto class. It’s controlled by the people who are doing marketing. And I come as somebody who’s won 107 awards in marketing. They’re 20 years behind.

Leahy: All they’re doing is TV ads and taking 15 percent or 10 percent off the top. Who cares.

Huey: A money-making machine for the consultants and a failure for the candidates. The candidates lose election after election when they could win, and they don’t know why. It’s because they don’t know how to get out the vote.

Leahy: So just to summarize, you don’t think Harmeet Dhillon is the right person to run the Republican National Committee?

Huey: I know she’s not.

Leahy: Ronna McDaniel has proven she’s failed.

Huey: And I know she’s failed.

Leahy: And Mike Lindell is a good guy making pillows.

Huey: And he doesn’t know he’s doing.

Leahy: But those are the only options out there.

Huey: Unless somebody comes forward.

Leahy: Are you going to volunteer?

Huey: I don’t think they would even listen to me. (Laughter)

Leahy: It’s those three. When we talk 2024, don’t pin your hopes on the Republican National Committee.

Huey: Exactly.

Leahy: Develop independent capabilities in these key states.

Huey: Not only Trump, but that’s what Obama did, too. He did it outside the political class.

Leahy: Craig, we’ve identified the problem. We haven’t solved it.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:


– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Craig Huey” by Craig Huey. Photo “Harmeet Dhillon” by Harmeet K. Dhillon. Background Photo “Republican National Convention” by PBS NewsHour. CC BY 2.0.


All Star Panelist Aaron Gulbransen on RINOs, Republican Leadership, and What We Can Expect from This Legislative Session

All Star Panelist Aaron Gulbransen on RINOs, Republican Leadership, and What We Can Expect from This Legislative Session

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 the director of Tennessee’s Faith and Freedom Coalition Aaron Gulbransen in studio to discuss last week’s organization meeting of the Tennessee General Assembly and what to expect from the 2023 session.

Leahy: In studio, our very good friend, the state director here in Tennessee for the Faith and Freedom Coalition and formerly our lead political reporter, Aaron Gulbransen. Good morning, Aaron.

Gulbransen: Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: Well, I am curious this morning. Last week, the 113th session of the Tennessee General Assembly convened. It was an organizational meeting, and it’s sort of odd.

They hold the organizational meeting and then they take a couple of weeks’ break. Tell us what happened in that organizational meeting and what we can expect from
this session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Gulbransen: Typically speaking, the first week or so is, as you just mentioned, organizational. What does that mean? It means the members get sworn in for the new session. The committees get appointed and convene.

The chairs get appointed. There are other leadership positions in both bodies in the House and the Senate. Then a lot of the conversations start happening that have been ongoing.

Leahy: A week ago today at noon, it convened. There were no surprises that I could see in terms of leadership. Cam Sexton is Speaker of the House. William Lamberth, the majority leader. Johnny Garrett is a majority; what do we call the Whip, I guess.

And then in the state senate, Randy McNally has been re-elected the Speaker of the Senate. And the lieutenant governor, Jack Johnson, the majority leader. I don’t see any major changes in leadership.

Gulbransen: Ferrell Hale, Speaker Pro-tem Senior Member. And then, of course, you got three deputy Speakers on the Republican side in Reeves, Stevens, and White in the Senate. I believe we’ve got a new judiciary chair if I remember right. Gardenhire.

Leahy: Todd Gardenhire, the state senator from Chattanooga. He’s an interesting fellow. I wouldn’t call him predictably conservative. There are some issues where he kind of goes to the center, but then there are other issues where he’s a pretty strong conservative.

Gulbransen: Again, I feel like I’m a broken record at this point in time our definition of conservative in this state would shock some of the others in other states. And so, by and large, we have pretty good elected officials. I was talking the other day with somebody, and people like to toss the term RINO around, who of course, a lot of them don’t even know.

Leahy: By the way, let’s just stop for a moment and say I had a discussion. I wrote a blog piece about this about 10 years ago with RINO – Republican In Name Only. As it turns out, when you use that term, what you’re really saying is a Reagan Republican in name only. Because if you look at the history of the Republican Party, go back to sort of the statist version.

Gulbransen: The Rockefeller.

Leahy: The Rockefeller, Nixon, and Herbert Hoover branch of the party. That’s one branch. And then the Coolidge, Goldwater, and Reagan, which is the limited government branch. So within the Republican Party, there’s always been this conflict.

Gulbransen: But, I mean, all I have to say is we have some you know, we will have disagreements with a lot of our elected officials in the state, but to call somebody out for a state that I used to live in, there’s nobody in the State Senate here or in the State House that’s a Tommy Norman from Virginia. Google Tommy Norman, and you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Leahy: Just give us a clue. What are you saying?

Gulbransen: If Tommy Norman, who has been the Republican leader in the State Senate in Virginia for a while; where in Tennessee, he might be a Democrat. So just think that way.

Leahy: As you’re talking here, if people want to call in 615-737-9522, go ahead.

Gulbransen: If you want to argue with me, there we go. (Laughs)

Leahy: We want to have a discussion with our friends who are listening.

Gulbransen: Of course, one of the things to pay attention to, and this is getting in the news, and it’s the subject of some disagreement. And that is what is going to happen in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade?

Leahy: Roe v. Wade. And by the way, there’s been a lot of national attention to this, and there’s a trigger law to describe what the trigger law currently is and what the proposals that may be out there now. I guess they reconvene to conduct the serious business of the Tennessee General Assembly a week from this coming Monday, January 30th. Is that right?

Gulbransen: There’ll be some sessions, there’ll be some things going on Friday.

Leahy: Some committee stuff?

Gulbransen: And leading up to the inaugural and that sort of thing. Of course, Governor Lee’s inauguration is for a second term.

Leahy: For his second term. Do you have your tux purchased yet? Are you going?

Gulbransen: I have to say, this is neither a criticism nor praise, but this seems to be an understated inaugural. I’m used to inaugurals where you have in other states, mind you, but where you have a big inauguration in the capitol city, then you have inaugural balls all over the state.

You have them in the western part of the state, the central part of the state, the eastern part of the state, and this is just one and a half days’ worth of events.

Leahy: Governor Lee is kind of understated it this time. So by the way, I’ve not received my invitation yet. (Chuckles)

Gulbransen: I am shocked. I will give a little bit of praise on this. There are a few free events. There’s one on Friday night that’s going to be at the Wild Horse Saloon, as well as there’s a prayer breakfast this upcoming Saturday morning.

Then there’s the inaugural itself, and then there’s a dinner, which I believe is $75. And then there’s the main inaugural ball after that.

Leahy: I have to say, I’m fine with a low-key inauguration. We didn’t even have much in the way of an election.

Gulbransen: That’s true.

Leahy: He didn’t have much of a challenge when he was elected to his second four-year term back in November. It was, what, 65-35 easy victory. When people talk about governor, now everybody’s looking to, well, what’s going to happen in 2026 to speculate. That’s four years away. That’s a long way away.

Gulbransen: To go back to the abortion issue, I will say it’s interesting. Basically, we call it the trigger law because it was passed several years before Roe v. Wade was overturned, and it was triggered in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned and outlaws abortion in the state of Tennessee.

Now, there are a couple of clauses in there. One could make the argument that the life of the mother is already in there. If you read it. Some others say it’s too vague. This is one of those interesting situations where I don’t think they’ve decided what they’re going to do, if anything, yet.

I’ve had scores of conversations over the past week on this. There seems to be some movement on potentially changing the language where exceptions are listed in there and changing the affirmative defense, as they call it, a clause in the trigger law.

That’s a technical term. I encourage you to go look at it. It’s also highlighted in a number of Second Amendment-related laws. There appears to be some movement there. You have prominent leadership saying we need to do something in the House. You have prominent leadership also saying we’re dead set against it.

You have primate leadership in the Senate saying; I’m fine with the way that the legislation currently is. And then you have others saying we need to make some exceptions.

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 Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Tennessee House of Representatives” by Tennessee General Assembly. Background Photo “Tennessee Senate” by Tennessee General Assembly.