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 TN (R) U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty to the newsmakers line to answer the questions of why he voted the opposite of what he initially said in an interview of January of this year, Big Tech, S1, and his position on the conflict between Hamas and ally Israel.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line, our good friend, United States Senator Bill Hagerty back to The Tennessee Star Report. Welcome, Senator Hagerty.
Hagerty: Good morning.
Leahy: Well, good morning now, senator. And let me begin with this question for you. It’ll take me about a minute to set it up. The last time you were here on this program was January fifth of this year. And right here on this program, you told me how you were going to vote the following day.
It was January sixth during the joint session of Congress when it convened to accept or reject the Electoral College vote. And here’s exactly what you said. I’m quoting. “I could not Michael, in good conscience, vote to accept the results of this election when I have such deep doubts about what happened here.” That’s exactly what you said.
But then less than 40 hours later, you voted to accept and certify all the Electoral College votes, even those from Georgia and Arizona. Here’s my question. Can you please tell me and our audience why you voted exactly the opposite of how you told us you would vote?
Hagerty: What I did on January the six was I objected to the Arizona results. I did that because my aim was to create a commission Mike that would put the constitutional violations that we all know occurred back to the state legislatures which is where this belongs to get it fixed.
I was never going to vote to nationalize the elections. What I want to do is uphold the Constitution and basically put this back to the state legislatures who are the ones that are constitutionally embodied to set the rules for state election laws for our federal election laws in their state.
After the riot broke out we lost all momentum to get this done. It wasn’t going to happen. And what I did is I turned my attention to the legislation that I put forward. President Trump loves the legislation called the Protect the Electoral College Act.
And what it requires is an audit of what took place in the 2020 elections. And every state where there is a constitutional violation will not get federal funds for their elections until they fix those problems. That’s the way we’re going to address this going forward. And I’m working through the process of getting it supported right now.
Leahy: But in the end, you voted to accept Arizona’s Electoral College votes and Georgia votes.
Hagerty: I voted to shut the arguments down. There are only two states raised and that was not enough to make a difference. We needed to bring that to an end and find another venue to fix this problem.
Leahy: That was a disappointing vote to me. But thank you for answering the question. Tell me now, you’ve been critical of the Biden administration on its efforts to get Israel to stop defending itself. Tell us about that.
Hagerty: The Biden administration is simply tone-deaf on how we should treat our allies and our foes. It seems that they want to criticize our allies to remove support for our allies and embolden our foes. If you think about the momentum that President Trump created with the Abraham Accords, what we were doing in the Middle East was creating a huge movement toward peace.
He brought four nations into normalization agreements with Israel. What we had was real momentum to finally established peaceful relationships, economic relationships, travel relationships between these nations in the Middle East.
And what the Biden administration has done in the past four months is they’ve wasted all that momentum. Instead, they’ve done the exact wrong thing to do. They’ve talked about re-entering the tragic Iran deal that President Trump thankfully got us out of.
And by moving to appease Iran, they’ve just emboldened the Iranians and their proxies Hamas. Hamas are the Iranian proxies that are working out of guys launching rockets at Israel. You know, where every one of those rockets is coming from?
They’re coming from Iran. These are Iranian rockets being launched on Israelis of civilians. Israel is entitled to defend itself. It should defend itself. It’s been surgical in its defense. And it’s just amazing how the European and the U.S. news media want to paint this in a different way.
We should be standing with our ally Israel and not emboldening Hamas. And you look at the Democrat Party. There was legislation that was put forward just a couple of days ago, the sanction, those who finance the Hamas those who support terrorism.
You had a party-line vote by the Democrats not to do that. In essence, to support terrorism. Two years ago, they all voted unanimously with the Republicans for just a sort of legislation. The Democrat Party has moved so far left it’s unrecognizable at this point.
Leahy: Now you serve President Trump as ambassador to Japan. And there you worked with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The current Secretary of State is Tony Blinken. Compare Mike Pompeo’s service as Secretary of State with Tony Blinken’s first four months as Secretary of State.
Hagerty: Well, it’s still quite early to say. Tony Blinken said the right things to me when we talked about the Abraham Accords. He said he thought they were a great breakthrough, that we should continue the momentum.
But his voice isn’t being heard in the Biden White House and certainly not among the Democrat representatives up in the Congress. I hope that Secretary Blinken will be emboldened to step up and do the right thing here. Secretary Pompeo had no trouble doing that.
And Mike Pompeo is a very clear-eyed, deliberate, and thoughtful diplomat. He did, I think, a terrific job serving President Trump. I enjoyed serving with Mike Pompeo and President Trump. We got a lot accomplished for America and a lot accomplished for our allies. And I think that Secretary Blinken has some big shoes to fill and I’m going to be pushing them hard to do just that.
Leahy: Senator Bill Hagerty, you’re a big critic of Big Tech, the oligopoly of Facebook and Google and Twitter and that crowd. What do you see should be done to control their uncontrolled power right now?
Hagerty: What I’ve done to address this is put forward legislation that would take down Section 230, which is the clause that they use. The large Internet platform providers like Facebook, like Google, like Twitter, use this as a means to censor.
What I think we should do is treat them like a common carrier. Justice Thomas did a great job, in one of his opinions laying this logic out. I read that I thought this makes complete sense to me. And what we did is we translated this into legislation.
What we would do is we would take these large carriers and acknowledge the fact that they really are more than just private companies. They have become the modern-day marketplace for ideas and the public square. We would regulate them the same way we regulate other common carriers, like telephone companies, telegraphs, and railroad companies.
And require them to provide non-discriminatory access to their platforms. That is the way to approach this and to do away with this. And to do away with this Section 230, to be clear, 230 provided that platforms like this could police the content on their platforms to make certain that they were family-friendly.
Not allowing obscenity, not allowing extreme violence. Those were clear definitions, but they also had a clause, both material that’s otherwise objectionable. And that otherwise objectionable language is what these Big Tech companies have used to just drive through that loophole like a Mack truck and use that as their reason, that is their excuse.
That is their lever to censor conservative voices. We need to bring that to an end. And this is the way to do it with this legislation.
Leahy: Last question for you today, Senator Hagerty. The Democrats are pushing through this S1. It passed in the House as H1. This is an attempt to nationalize all elections, to get rid of state election laws, and nationalize them. Will this pass in the 50/50 Senate? What’s your prognosis there?
Hagerty: I seriously hope not. And I’ll encourage your listeners to go to my website to see my statements in the committee fighting back on that. But I pushed back very hard on this. What the Democrats are trying to do is resurrect a lot of their old wish list of federalized elections. They tried this after the 2016 election.
Again they’re coming back and trying to create a crisis now, pointing to the situation in Georgia and the Georgia legislatures’ attempt to strengthen their election laws. Pointing to that is an excuse to come back and essentially nationalize the elections and create an advantage that would make their party the only party in power for decades to come.
They want to come in and do the things that would absolutely weaken the integrity of our elections. In fact, Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State James Baker put together a commission to look at election integrity a number of years ago. And the two things that they cited as the greatest vulnerabilities were mail-in balloting and ballot harvesting. That’s what the Democrats are trying to put into legislation right now.
Leahy: Absolutely. Senator Bill Haggerty, thank you so much for joining us today. Come back again and make it less than four months next time.
Hagerty: Good to be with you.
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