Live from Music Row Friday 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 GOP candidate for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District, Robby Starbuck, who weighed in on the Cuban protests for freedom and the strategy conservatives must take to get America back on track.
Leahy: We are joined by Robby Starbuck, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District here in Middle Tennessee. Good morning, Robby.
Starbuck: Good morning, Michael. How are you doing?
Leahy: We’re doing great. The protest in Cuba against the dictatorial tyrannical Communist regime that’s been there for 62 years, you have some personal connection to Cuba, tell us about that and tell us your reaction to these protests.
Starbuck: Yes. My own family fled Cuba during the revolution or shortly after and I still have some family there.
And I found myself this week simultaneously so proud of the people there who are rising up and demanding freedom and liberty, while also being entirely disappointed by our own leaders here in America and a certain portion of people in this country who don’t realize how lucky we are to be a free people that have a Constitution that guarantees us or recognizes, rather, our rights that are God-given.
There’s kind of two sides to this coin because while I’m so proud of those people, it really highlights that this is a window in time where we can look in the future and see that this is what is going to happen in our country if we don’t make the right choices right now.
And if we don’t do the right things and we don’t win in 2022, this is what we have waiting for us in the future. The future where people have so much poverty, so much hunger, so much need, and have to face so much tyranny from their government that they have no choice but to rise up. And so I hope that we never get there. And I hope we make the right choices.
Leahy: Now, tell us a little bit about your family. I know your grandfather came over here. Was your mother born in Cuba, or was she born here in the states?
Starbuck: She was born in Cuba, yes. Actually, she was a teenager when she came here.
Leahy: Really? When did she come over? What year did she come over?
Starbuck: I don’t know the exact year. I’m not great at the years, but she came over when she was a teenager and she lived in a place called –
Leahy: And you currently have family members back in Cuba. Have you talked to them at all?
Starbuck: No. Because there’s a lot of fear given what I’m doing here in America and everything and we have been doing for the past few years, that it would put them in danger in Cuba if I had communication with them.
So I don’t, but other people in my family keep in communication with them. It’s that dangerous in Cuba. Even just talking to somebody in the U.S. who is doing what I’m doing and stands for freedom and has stood against the Communist Party, there is a danger for people who live there on the island.
Leahy: What has the incumbent congressman from the Fifth Congressional District, Democrat Jim Cooper, who’s been there forever and a day, said about these Cuban protests? Has he made a public statement in support of the protesters?
Starbuck: No. Absolutely nothing. In fact, saying nothing is probably the worst thing because it says everything. And by proxy, it sort of says that he doesn’t disagree with these people on the radical left in his party who are supporting the Communist government there and who not only supported Communist government but made statements essentially saying that this whole thing is about COVID and about COVID vaccines.
It says nothing. I watched all of these protests videos and listened intently. Not one video that has been on the Internet of these protests has mentioned COVID or COVID vaccines. What they mentioned were liberty and freedom.
And the visual from it is people waving American flags and that’s despite decades and decades of indoctrination where they’re supposed to hate America.
And these people are out there still in love with America and the idea of freedom. And that says a lot, after decades of government indoctrination, they still want freedom.
Leahy: Yeah, they certainly do. Let’s talk about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The legal but not legitimate administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
And as I say, the beta male running American foreign policy. The guy formerly with the law firm of Winken, Blinken, and Nod. Not really, but just to point out what a great expert this guy is. What has he said about these protests?
Starbuck: He’s an empty suit. He’s an empty suit. He has no interest in actually stopping this. In fact, the Biden administration’s interest is in helping the Cuban government, by proxy.
The only thing that they don’t want to do is they don’t want to publicly give them too much support where people can figure out what’s going on.
So it’s more of a wink and a nod. What they did is they dropped sanctions in Venezuela so that the Venezuelan government could help the Communist government in Cuba.
They don’t want to directly come out and help them, because if they do, they already know they have a big problem with Cubans.
We are pretty much the most conservative voter block in the country. And so they fear losing that voting block entirely for the future because they know right now in Florida, they’re not winning a state-wide election for a while.
And so they don’t want to make that a permanent problem. And just through their weakness and cowardice, they’re going to make a permanent problem because the people that have come here that are Cuban Americans know the difference.
They pay attention. And what they prefer is the type of leadership we saw from Mike Pompeo and Ron DeSantis this week, where both have stood for the Cuban people constantly and very vocally, and are now demanding the Biden administration offer up an Internet access point, which is something that we did for people in Iran not too long ago.
The Cuban government has shut down the Internet and they’ve blocked people from social media in hopes of trying to quit these protests.
Leahy: On the campaign trail, when you talk about Cuba, how do people respond to you?
Starbuck: Very well. I think people really understand that this is something that could happen here. And I think that that’s something that has given me a little bit of hope that these people see very clearly that this is something that could happen.
On the flip side that I’ll get some questions about, do I believe in U.S. intervention, and I don’t. I believe in America first. And I don’t believe in intervention anywhere else.
I can’t, despite my own personal feelings, go and say we should go save the day in Cuba. I think that what’s happening now is what needs to happen and that is the people who are rising up and they’re saying we’ve had enough.
We want freedom and liberty, and they’re doing all the things necessary to try to change things there. So there’s been a lot of conversations along those lines.
If it gets to a certain point where we see the government really seriously mass murdering in the streets, we can have a different conversation.
But aside from that, I’m glad rather that people are seeing the direct line from how you get there and what’s happening here in America.
Leahy: A couple of campaign questions for you, if that’s okay. First, is it true that Candace Owens has endorsed you?
Starbuck: It is. It’s true that Candace Owens has 100 percent. It happened this week. She’s a really good friend of mine. And I think people know, if they’ve watched what she has done over the past few years, she’s a real fighter for this country.
She knows who’s the real deal and who’s not. And so that’s why she’s jumped into this race to endorse them.
Leahy: Second campaign question, a bit of a curveball. Are you ready? Here it’s coming.
Leahy: Do you anticipate any challenges to your eligibility to run for the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District?
Starbuck: I heard that somebody wanted to make some sort of challenge and that’s ludicrous. I don’t even understand what the basis that they would have for that is anything like that.
Leahy: I think it has something to do with, have you voted in X number of Republican primaries in the past. Something like that?
Starbuck: Well, I mean, if that’s the case, that’s going to get thrown out really quickly. I voted in Republican primaries in California and that fills every need that is necessary.
Leahy: Is it a standard Republican primary in California or in Tennessee?
Starbuck: The standard is Republican primaries. So if you have lived in a state previously – say two and a half three years ago -and if you voted in enough of those primaries as a Republican, that seems to be the standard legally.
Leahy: And I think the eligibility standard to run in a congressional district in any state is you simply have to be a resident for, is it like, six months or one year? And you could run for any district in the state in which you’re a resident. Is that right?
Leahy: Good! What’s on your agenda for the next week or so on the campaign trail, Robby?
Starbuck: Actually, we’ve been doing so many events and just got back from CPAC. I spoke at CPAC.
Leahy: That’s right. What did you say and what was your reaction at CPAC? I forgot all about that.
Starbuck: CPAC was incredible. We had an amazing reaction. My phone is still full at this point of people I’ve got to get back to because it’s just been an insane reaction.
But for myself and former Governor Scott Walker and Congressman Mark Walker from North Carolina, we did a panel essentially on how you can roll back what the left is done here in America over the past few years.
And there’s a lot of talk about offensive strategy going forward because essentially it is a big part of our problem. We’ve been on defense for too long for decades and decades and decades.
And it’s done nothing but seed ground. And some of these people who are really RHINOS and have called themselves Conservatives, I had a very frank question: What have they conserved over the last 25, 30 years? And the only thing I can think of is their job.
Leahy: (Laughs) That’s a good line, Robby. That’s a very good line.
Starbuck: That’s true. But at this point, we need somebody who’s ready to conserve some other things, and that’s going to take an offensive strategy.
It’s going to take bold leadership and it’s going to take some outside-the-box thinking in terms of how we message our policies and that we need to be very aggressive in having an offensive plan and stop apologizing.
We had a fantastic reaction. And one of the great things I saw at CPAC with so many of the people who were there, they really just wanted leadership and they wanted something to do.
And they came because they’re ready to take action someway or another. And they want to be able to know, what do I do? What is the best thing I can do to save this country?
Leahy: Robby Starbuck, candidate for the Fifth Congressional District, the Republican nomination. Thanks for joining us. Come back again, please.
Starbuck: Thank you. Will do. And if anybody wants to find out more go to starbuck2022.com.
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