Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former ambassador to Japan and current Tennessee Senate candidate Bill Hagerty to the show.
During the second hour, Hagerty described his recent announcement of a plan to protect the Constitution from radical liberals in Washington, to protect free speech on college campuses and to solidify the rights of the humans unborn. Further on into the segment, he reflected on Trump’s visit last week to see the damage of the tornado and how his presence gave the victims hope and faith by his visit and swift action.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, former ambassador to Japan and the current candidate for the Republican nomination for the Senate in Tennessee Bill Hagerty. Welcome, Bill.
Hagerty: Good morning Mike. How are you this morning?
Leahy: I am great. I just saw your announcement on your plan to protect the Constitution from radical liberals in Washington. I just had the opportunity to read it over. This is really a spectacularly good plan on your part. And I just want to ask you, was it Chuck Schumer’s threats to the two Supreme Court justices that really brought this to the front?
Hagerty: Mike these threats have been ongoing for some time. This is what my wife and I watched when we were serving overseas. These past three years the Democrats have done nothing but press a socialist agenda forward.
And when Chuck Schumer stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and threatened two Supreme Court justices by name. Of course, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch, that’s when it has gone too far. That’s when we decided that we needed to put our plan out. And that’s exactly where we stand.
Leahy: I saw reports that that kind of a threat is a violation of federal law. I noted that several members of the Senate have introduced proposals to censure Chuck Schumer. And I suppose that those will be brought to a vote at some point. And my guess is that they probably will come close to passing if not passing. One of the things I saw here…
Hagerty: I hope they do. If you were a Republican that said that rather than a Democrat a Republican would be in jail right now for those sort of statements.
Leahy: I agree completely. If you were in the Senate and that censure vote came up you would vote in favor of it?
Leahy: Absolutely. A very detailed analysis of your position on the Constitution. I saw one thing that really caught my attention. You say on the 14th amendment that it should be to defended to reclaim the rights of our unborn. Tell us a little bit about that.
Hagerty: Well Mike, the 14th amendment clearly states that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, and property without the due process of law. There is no question that a human being. Abortion is a clear violation of the 14th amendment and takes human life.
We must do everything we can to put a stop to it. I’m the father of four children. I’m 100% pro-life and I’ll do everything to fight for the voices and fight for their right to due process.
Leahy: Of course, that is an issue I think it may have been brought up in litigation but probably hasn’t had quite the impact that you might think because the judges don’t necessarily have a constitutional view.
Tell us a little bit about what you’ll do to help get constitutional originalist judges confirmed at the district, appellate and Supreme Court level if you were to be elected.
Hagerty: President Trump has done an excellent job working with groups like the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation to put together and vet a great set of judges and justices that are constitutionalists.
I plan to continue that level of cooperation and make certain that we bring that same sort of intellectual discipline to ensure that our Constitution is followed, not altered.
Leahy: You know, we have our little Constitution Bee where kids come and are questioned the way they are in a geography bee or a spelling bee. It’s gaining popularity. One of the things that we talk about in that is the First Amendment.
I’m particularly concerned about the infringement of freedom of speech around the country and particularly on college campuses. What is your plan to addresses that?
Hagerty: You know I call that out specifically in the plan. Free speech is critical. Especially on college campuses. What we’ve seen taking place on college campuses is nothing short of unallowable. The efforts to shut, quite, and block any sort of alternate thinking to the liberal point of view has just been intolerable.
Leahy: So here in Tennessee, the First Amendment is also being attacked. Religious liberty and freedom is being attacked by the ACLU. They sued the Smith County school system. Tell us about that and what your proposal would do to address that.
Hagerty: You might have seen my op-ed on that. The ACLU has attacked Smith County for their desire to have worship in school and in school activities. That’s a clear infringement on the religious rights of the people of Smith county. And it’s something that we must stand up against.
Leahy: Now I noticed on Friday when President Trump came into view the tornado damage and he was met at the airport by the governor and Senator Blackburn. You were there as well. Several folks noted that the president spent the most time talking with Bill Hagerty there. He’s endorsed you for the nomination here on the Republican side. What did the two of you talk about when he came here on Friday?
Hagerty: Well the President invited me to join him last week when he was here. We talked about the incredible damage that’s taken place here. I was able to thank him for the swift action that he’s taken to help Tennesseans that have been affected by tornadoes. What he saw here was just exceptional. Beyond devastation, particularly as we flew over Putnam County. It’s just exceptional.
He said the president’s outpouring and his generosity of spirit has made quite a difference. I got a call from Randy Porter who is the mayor of Putnam County the night after the president left. He said, Bill, up until the President’s arrival, we’ve been focused on healing.
We’ve been focused on sorrow. But after the president’s arrival, that has allowed us to focus us on redemption and rebuilding. He said it was really a turning point. That’s the healing effect that his presence had. And I couldn’t be more proud of our president for acting swiftly.
He declared this a major disaster on March the 5th. But he was right down here. And he wanted to go to where the majority of the impact was felt. That’s not herein Nashville. We had a tragedy here in Nashville in Davidson, Wilson, and Benton county.
But the biggest disaster by far was in Putnam County. 75% of the lives lost were there. That’s where the president wanted to be. He was on the ground meeting with people. I could not have been more proud as a Tennessean to hear the outpouring from our local brothers and sisters.
It was amazing, Mike. There was one family there that talked about this Wizard of Oz-like situation where the home of their sister and brother-in-law was lifted up from one neighborhood and dropped into another. The sister and brother in law didn’t survive. But the sister who was telling the story was thanking God that he and his parents and other siblings were still alive.
I was certainly touched. I know Senator Blackburn was too. It was an amazing outpouring. The president was immediately touched by the level of heartfelt emotion that he sensed there. And the level of appreciation and gratitude.
Leahy: So last Friday. Air Force One lands. You were not on Air Force One with the president. You just met him when he landed in Nashville, is that correct?
Hagerty: That’s correct. That’s correct Mike, yes.
Leahy: So after that, maybe you can give us a little inside view of this. I had incorrectly thought that maybe they’d have a motorcade or something. But smartly, they had the helicopter they call Marine One.
I don’t know if it came with them in a separate transport or they designated a helicopter at the airport. But you got on Marine One with the president and flew up to Putnam County. Tell us what that was like being on Marine One with President Trump.
Hagerty: There are a lot of security protocols afforded to the movement of the president that I won’t get into. But I will just say this. We were able to fly at an altitude that allowed us to see the full extent of the damage. Major trees broke like toothpicks. Homes crushed.
The president was just touched and taken by the extent off the damage. But his attitude was what can we do to help and make a difference for the people here. And I never cease to be amazed by the spirit in times like this.
Everybody wanted to find a way to be held responsible. We were very fortunate to be by our senators. By Representative John Rose who was with us too. We had the greatest outpouring from help and support for people when we got to Putnam County. The local officials there I don’t think had slept for days.
To see the mayor of Cookeville and the county mayor of Putnam County, Ricky Shelton, and Randy Porter, both of them had been working night and day there. It made such a difference to have the president go there. They were all there to greet him. And I also should say mayor (Inaudible talk) was out there as well.
We had Mayor Cooper here. The mayor of Benton County was here as well. We had mayor (Inaudible talk). The local support and the local outpouring of appreciation was just overwhelming. I think the president felt that loud and clear. They appreciate the fact that he acted swiftly and that he’s doing everything he can to help the people of Tennessee.
Leahy: Former ambassador, Bill Hagerty, candidate for the Republican Party of the US Senate. I do want to point out that you’ve got an op-ed on human trafficking supporting the death penalty for traffickers appearing at The Chattanoogan. Ambassador Hagerty, thanks for joining us.
Hagerty: Thank you so much. Always great to be with you, Mike.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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