On Monday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Michael Patrick Leahy talked with history buff Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends about his new book about Andrew Jackson, his upcoming visit to Nashville’s City Winery this Sunday from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm and his recent confrontation with “crazy leftists” in a New York City subway.
Leahy: And Brian, the tour name is America, Great from the Start. I love that how’d you come up with that name?
Kilmeade: Well, I mean, we use the word ‘great’ a lot these days – but I want to reaffirm the fact that we are not perfect. But we are great. And the thing about our country is, we try to get better. And we’re our hardest critic. Where I think people get confused where we since we are critical of ourselves think we’re coming apart. But we’re not. That’s how we’re built.
And unfortunately I think we are way too judgemental on each other, judgemental on our past. So I thought, rather than just wait for someone to say, “Hey Brian, I need you to be a keynote speaker here or come to Barnes and Noble and sign your book here. I said, “what if I create an event that allows me to do something I can’t do at book signings, and that’s spend time with people, answer their questions because of lines or because of time constraints?’
So I talk about George Washington aspiring, Secret Six; Thomas Jefferson takes on Barbary Pirates – Islamic extremists – the Tripoli pirates. And then Andrew Jackson, the battle of New Orleans. You know the paperwork out is to due afterwards it think it the final three. Talk about how our country progressed and how close we came to total annihilation. People might understand a little bit more about where we came from to appreciate where we are.
Leahy and Kilmeade discussed his upcoming visit to City Winery this Sunday, October 21st and how it’s a perfect time for the event as folks in Tennessee go to church on Sunday mornings, then a noon lunch, followed by a visit to Kilmead’s event. They went on to discuss the Fox News fixture’s full schedule of working three hours in the morning on Fox and Friends for the past twenty years, and how after Fox and Friends does a radio show for another three hours. Leahy was marveled by Brian’s ability to find time to write a book. Kilmeade discussed his fascination with George Washington’s spy ring on Long Island where he grew up and how much of it had not been uncovered before turning to his newest project about Tennessee hero, Sam Houston.
Leahy: Now you’re a real history buff. And I see that you have Don Yeager as your co-author here. Tell us a little bit about how the two of you worked together to write these great books.
Kilmeade: Well this Sam Houston I’ll be doing by myself – but Don deserves a lot of credit in that he wanted to do a sports book with me because I come from a sports background. I said, “Don, I’m just doing news and my past is history.” And he says, “Well what are you working on?” I said, Well I said I’m doing this thing I think it would be a great movie I’m watching National Treasure and this is a better story than what actually happened.” And he said, “Well maybe there’s a book there.” And I gave him all my notes of eighteen years. And he goes, “I know exactly how to put this together.” So he deserves a lot of credit for that. But after that we just did the magic of email back and forth. “Well you could do this”, emails me back, “I think we should gut it here. We need some more information, I’m going to the Jefferson library we’re gonna need some photos, I’ll meet you there at noon.” So it’s just one of these things where I don’t think we could of done it in a different era because he’s always in Tallahassee and I’m always in New York.
Kilmeade and Leahy talked about his recent visit to the Hermitage here in Tennessee and how he’s become a member on the Board of Trustees. Brian claimed it as such an honor to be on the board and his recently taped behind the scenes tour of the Hermitage special that will be airing on a new Fox network called Fox Nation expected to roll out around Thanksgiving this year. He gave homage to the Hermitage and noted Marsha Blackburn’s help with her assistance in gathering information and access to the national archives that helped him write the book. Leahy and Kilmeade go on to talk about his upcoming book on former Tennessee figure Sam Houston.
Leahy: It sounds like you like Tennessee historical figures. Your next book is Sam Houston he was of course a protege of Andrew Jackson and from Tennessee and at one time the Governor of Tennessee. Was that the connection to Sam Houston?
Kilmeade: Got lucky. I mean I don’t want to do the civil war. I just feel it’s overdone and I can’t bring anything new to it and it’s so divisive. So I said what can I do in between. And then when I find out from reading Sam Houston biographies before I committed to it that Sam Houston is fighting in the Creek battles with Jackson and that he was wounded, and Jackson walked over to the wounded guys and says ‘I need another surge I got to finish these guys off tonight.’ And with a bullet in his leg he gets up and fights with Jackson, takes another bullet, thought he was going to die. And then lives, and then he walks back into Washington as he heals, and see’s it burn to the ground. And I go, ‘this is a perfect way to pick up where Jackson left off.’ And Jackson would be his mentor, as you obviously know, throughout his career.
As the conversation came to a close, Leahy questioned Kilmeade about the recent “crazy leftists” stalking him in a New York City subway. Brian stated he never felt threatened but still did not want to foster a violent moment. He realized he’d was being tracked and egged on to engage with them as they barked, “Donald Trump is not popular here,” among other things. After the confrontation, the leftists posted it to Twitter and received a considerable amount of blowback which resulted in them privatizing their Twitter accounts. Summing up the incident, Kilmeade said, “You can only act like an idiot for so long.”
Listen to the full segment:
– – –
Julie Carr is the Deputy Managing Editor of The Tennessee Star.