Tennessee House Republicans will meet Monday afternoon to discuss the future of the caucus and the leadership of Speaker Glen Casada, currently attempting to navigate his way out of the still-unraveling imbroglio centered around his former chief of staff.
At least 10 House Republicans signed on to a letter, initiated by Reps. Jerry Sexton and Jason Zachary, calling for the caucus meeting. A spokesperson confirmed that the speaker’s office has received the letter and that the meeting, closed to media and the public, will be held on Monday at 2:30 p.m. The spokesperson would not say where the meeting will be held.
(Read the full letter here.)
Beginning earlier this month, a series of news reports found Casada’s chief of staff Cade Cothren had sent text messages objectifying women, insulting black people and boasting about illegal drug use at the legislature. Additionally, Cothren submitted evidence to the Nashville district attorney’s office that resulted in the revocation of a black activist’s bond, though the evidence was later determined to be incorrect. The speaker’s office maintains that a technical glitch caused the mistaken submission.
Cothren resigned last week, but the situation only escalated as media revealed that Casada himself participated in some of the at-issue text messages with Cothren, including when has asked his chief of staff whether he was a “minute man” after Cothren boasted of having sex at a local restaurant. Casada also asked whether two women in a video sent by Cothren late at night were of legal age and asked if he could “just touch” a nearly nude dancer in a photo sent by Cothren.
Democrats were quick to call for Casada’s resignation, and Republican dissent started to trickle out throughout the week.
Late last week, Casada said he welcomed a caucus meeting.
“I support the call by some of my Republican members for an upcoming GOP Caucus meeting to continue to hear and address lingering concerns,” he said in a statement. “I am confident the more my colleagues have actual facts before them the better.”