Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall made headlines this week when he refused to meet with President Trump.
Last week, however, he made time to meet with local musician Billy Dawson. It was unclear what important Davidson County law enforcement matter the two discussed.
“@NashSheriff #daronhall and I doing our serious faces:) good hanging with mi amigo today,” Dawson tweeted on January 27.
— Billy Dawson (@billydawson1) January 28, 2017
Though not interested in meeting with the President of the United States the following week, Sheriff Hall found time in his busy schedule to tweet back the following to Dawson that same day:
” Wish I had your talent….you are gonna do great things… .” the sheriff tweeted back to Dawson.
Wish I had your talent….you are gonna do great things… https://t.co/Zsco7zSxrB
— Daron Hall (@DaronHall7) January 28, 2017
Sheriff Hall apparently does not believe President Trump is going to do great things, however, as WKRN reported on Tuesday:
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall declined an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.
The sheriff would have been one of about a dozen sheriffs that met with the president on Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Hall, a Democrat, is in Washington D.C. attending the National Sheriff’s Association’s Winter Conference. The group’s executive committee, of which Hall is a member, was invited to meet with the president as part of a listening session.
“A spokesperson for Sheriff Hall said he was one of only three Democrats invited to the meeting and the only Democrat to not attend,” WKRN reported.
“After attending a briefing with the executive committee yesterday about topics and the meeting with President Trump, I became concerned the meeting was going to be supportive of issues – such as the Executive Order regarding immigration – and others, and made the decision not to go,” Sheriff Hall explained in a statement released to WKRN
Hall’s term as Davidson County Sheriff ends in 2018, and he has not announced whether he will seek a fifth term.
Here’s what Sheriff Hall missed when he ducked out of the meeting between members of the National Sheriffs’ Association with President Trump in the Roosevelt Room on Tuesday.
President Trump opened with these remarks:
I’m honored to welcome the National Sheriffs’ Association. Your leadership is here, and I know the great job you do. I’ve known you and followed you for a long period of time. Your efforts and your officers are outstanding. I know so many sheriffs from my area — some in particular — and they’re great friends and great people.
I just want to let you know that our job is to help you in law enforcement, and we’re going to help you do your job. We’re going to expand access to abuse-deterring drugs, which a lot of you have been talking about. They’re out, and they’re very hard to get. Stop the opioid epidemic. We’ve got to do it. It’s a new thing. And, honestly, people aren’t talking about it enough. It’s a new thing, and it’s a new problem for you folks. It’s probably a vast majority of your crimes — or at least a very big portion of your crimes are caused by drugs. . .
So we’re going to be very tough on crime. So we’re going to be very tough on the drugs pouring in, and that’s a big part of the crime. We’re going to be very strong at the border. We have no choice. And we’re going to be building a wall. We’re starting very soon. General Kelly will be working with a lot of you. And he’s fantastic. He was the one who got approved very quickly along with General Mattis. He’s very, very outstanding. And I very much appreciate that you’re here today.
Sheriff Hall could have been among the many sheriffs who spoke directly with the president then, but since he wasn’t in the audience, he missed the opportunity.
Rich Stanek, Sheriff of Hennepin County in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an area even more liberal than Davidson County also showed up and made the most of the opportunity.
Hillary Clinton got 63 percent of the vote to Trump’s 28 percent in Hennepin County in November.
In Davidson County, Tennessee, Hillary got 60 percent to Trump’s 32 percent, though he easily carried the state of Tennessee with 62 percent of the vote.
“I just want to say that you hit on two topics that are near and dear to my heart. The first is opioids — 144 people that died last year as a result of opioid overdose; 31 percent increase over the year before. We need help. Eighty-plus percent of the drugs come from south of the border. Everybody knows it. I know you will do something about it,” Stanek told the president:
THE PRESIDENT: I will. It’s already being done, believe me. It’s a big, big difference. And we will do that, and you do have a big problem, and you have a big problem with the refugees pouring in, don’t you?
SHERIFF STANEK: Yes, we do, sir. And we all asking if what you’re doing, which is let the courts decide, do what we’ve been doing. Rule of law is strong and the proper vetting of individuals is really important to us.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, the vetting is much, much tougher now. And we need this court case. It will be very helpful to keeping the wrong people out of our country. You understand that better than anybody. So I think we’re going to have some good results.
SHERIFF STANEK: I do, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: It may take a little while. And you know, this is a very dangerous period of time because while everybody is talking and dealing, a lot of bad people are thinking about, hey, let’s go in right now. But we’re being very, very tough with the vetting — tougher than ever before.
SHERIFF STANEK: Sir, I chaired the Homeland Security Committee for the National Sheriffs’ Association. We heard from General Kelly yesterday, his message was right on the mark about carrying out your directives, and we appreciate that.
THE PRESIDENT: That used to be a political position, you know, what General Kelly is doing here right now. Homeland Security, if you remember — it’s like a political position. Not anymore. Now it’s, in my opinion, one of truly most important positions. So he’s doing a great job. Thank you very much.
SHERIFF STANEK: Thank you, sir.
Sheriff Harold Eavanson from Rockwall County, Texas also made the most of the chance to speak with the president.
“Our county is probably about 85 percent Republican,” he told the president, and this dialogue between the two followed:
SHERIFF EAVANSON: And being in a border state, I have been to the border in Texas any number of times, been to the border in Arizona. I clearly understand the problem we have. And previously when we’d go to the border and hear what the ranchers and sheriffs have to say — those border sheriffs and border ranchers, it was a 180 degrees from what we heard from the previous administration.
THE PRESIDENT: So you’re seeing a big difference?
SHERIFF EAVANSON: We’re very proud to have you as President.
THE PRESIDENT: And that’s only two weeks. Okay? It’s a very short period of time. I’m hearing it from a lot of people. People are calling in and they’re — and people I know that are in the area, they’re saying it’s like day and night. Because we’re not playing games. We’re not playing games. We’re stopping the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth. So thank you very much. I appreciate it.
SHERIFF EAVANSON: You’re welcome.
“Let me tell you the difference of six months,” Jonathan Thompson, the executive director and CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association, told the president.
“I sat in this room, in this chair, and I was pleading — I was begging for help. Today, you’ve invited us here to your home. You’re offering help. You’re delivering on that offer. And on behalf of our members across the country, thank you,” Thompson said.
Sheriff Hall’s enthusiasm for Billy Dawson’s musical career may be easier to defend than his snubbing of President Trump.
“Billy Dawson is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, entertainer, author and motivational speaker. Nashville Independent Music Awards just awarded him with Artist of the year, Best country male vocalist and best country live performer,” according to the entertainer’s website, which also notes:
He was also the winner of the 2010 “Get Discovered” (iHeart Radio/Clear Channel) National Competition and was featured live on the iconic Jerry Lewis MDA telethon in Las Vegas and on the airwaves for over four million viewers. He was included in iTunes/Tunecore best of Country 2010 album featuring Brantley Gilbert and Colt Ford.
Last year Billy penned the theme song “Born to Lead” for the CBS Sports Network Lombardi Awards and has his songs playing in stadiums nationwide for the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.
Sheriff Hall is expected to defend his decision to refuse his meeting with the president in the local media when he returns to Nashville later this week.