On Friday morning’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the Beacon Center’s Vice President of Communications Mark Cunningham on the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Cunningham weighed in on Mayor John Cooper’s blatant disdain for the people of Nashville and discussed whether he could be potentially personally sued in a class-action lawsuit from business owners that remained shut down because of his orders.
Leahy: Crom, you know we have to be careful, because if you got to bed early here in Nashville, my goodness things break. And of course, the big national story, Metro Council Member At-Large Steve Glover was on Tucker Carlson last night to talk about it. The suppression of the COVID-19 data that showed very low rates in bars and restaurants that Mayor Cooper shut down.
Carmichael: It’s the motive that you get to.
Leahy: We have Mark Cunningham from The Beacon Center who wants to try and explain this to us.
Cunningham: Good morning.
Leahy: Can you explain why the mayor’s office suppressed data, which showed very low rates of COVID-19 among people who were at bars and restaurants, and still maintained the shutdown order of bars and restaurants in downtown?
Cunningham: I think the big major question here is he knew every number that he had, yet he shutdown every bar and restaurant, claiming that because of the number, is the reason he shut them down. Basically he lied to our faces. We are shutting you down because of the spread. Yet he had no numbers to back it up.
Because he is single handedly responsible for every single bar and business that goes out of business. Every employee who doesn’t have any money. Every musician that can’t make it right now because of his shutdown that was not based on any type of science despite what he says.
Carmichael: Mark, I’ve got a question for you. It seems to me, and I’m not a lawyer. Is there any precedent for if a government official uses his or her position to do things that are economically damaging to others. In this case, many others. Can they be sued personally?
The President of the United States in testimony before Congress, Mueller said that the constitution does not allow for the indictment of a sitting president, but that he can be indicted personally for deeds that he’s done after he is removed from office or after he leaves office.
And if the President of the United States can be held personally liable, couldn’t the mayor of a city for doing things that are illegal, couldn’t the mayor of the city and all the people around him. There is another guy named John Cooper who is the general Metro council, he would have had this information or certainly, he has it now.
Cunningham: That’s a great question.
Carmichael: If these individuals are engaged in acts that are against the law, it seems to me that in this country, they should be held personally liable. And the council members that supported these acts, if illegal, they should be very concerned. This is a tipping point here in Nashville.
I don’t know if you caught the interview just prior to this with Fran Bush, where you had attorney John Cooper, on behalf of the school board, signed a non-disparagement agreement with according to this person was a terrible director of schools and deserved to be outed. It seems to me like this is an abuse that goes way beyond just the office. So what do you think?
Cunningham: First of all, I completely agree with you beginning the tipping point. I’m not sure about the specifics of suing the government or suing him personally. I’m not sure about that. But I think the point you made is important because its a tipping point and its not just for conservatives. It’s going to be a tipping point for anybody who wasn’t a full government shutdown and the ruined nation’s economy.
Everybody who is a conservative said I really fear that they are doing this without any numbers behind it or following the science. Every single person who thought that they have been proven wrong. John Cooper has shown what I think a lot of other cities are going across the country is going through right now with anybody who doesn’t agree with a full shutdown of the economy is thinking oh God. Are our officials keeping numbers from us too?
Are they seeing the numbers that are good for people and still shutting down businesses. I think that’s the major concern for everybody. It’s not just conservatives but it is every person that believes in a balance between health and safety. And not just shutting everything down. So I think this is going to make people across the country take a look at their local governments.
Carmichael: With both John Cooper’s, using the government with full knowledge that the argument that they are making to support their actions and knowing that it is dishonest. That it’s a lie. And millions of millions of dollars have been lost. People have lost. Bar owners and restaurant owners and employees.
It doesn’t seem to me like the bar and restaurant owners, for them to have a cause of action against the government but not against the individuals. They are suing their own constituents. And they’d be suing the city and the suit to me, I hope that this is a test case to find out whether or not politicians can truly abuse their power. And by the way, hats off to Dennis Ferrier. Hats off to Dennis Ferrier.
Leahy: Great reporting. Fox 17.
Carmichael: Hats off to Dennis Ferrier at Fox 17. He pursued doggedly. And he got the information. And shame on the other TV stations for sitting on their hands and not doing their jobs. And I hope that ABC, NBC, and CBS here locally I hope that they will get off their butts.
The Tennessean has actually reported on this quite well. And I’m sure they will report on it more. I hope the other TV networks now decide that their job is to support their viewers and not to support a narrow group of special interests.
Leahy: Given this data, and given the fact that the mayor suppressed evidence that shows that there is no reason to shut down bars and restaurants in downtown Nashville, why on earth shouldn’t today every bar and every restaurant in this city open up full 100%?
Cunningham: That’s a great question. I agree with you 100%. I think that should be what comes out of this. And whether or not he hid information or wasn’t honest about it. I think the big thing that came out of this is that his policies did not reflect what the actual numbers are. And I’m sick and tired of this follow the science nonsense. Because they don’t follow any science.
In his press conference yesterday Mayor Cooper said yesterday, oh we shut down the bars because the CDC says so. At the same time, he’s not opening up schools, which the CDC said he could do. He said he still wants to test asymptomatic people, which the CDC said you don’t need to do. He only follows the science that works with his political agenda. That’s it. He doesn’t follow real science. And I am done with the left taking this.
Carmichael: And the CDC, if that is his excuse, then he’s not being honest about that either. Because the CDC didn’t tell him to shut down the bars and restaurants. The CDC, if it said anything, it said to follow the science. He had the science and the data that showed that bars and restaurants are not the problem. And then he took that information based on Dennis Ferrier’s reporting and then he hid it.
And he told his staff. This is what is so terrible. When you tell people around you if you want to be dishonest fine. But when you tell all the people around, you need to be dishonest too that is just. Nashville is better than that.
The people of Nashville are better than that. And both John Cooper’s need to resign. And the young people around Mayor Cooper, those young people. I’ve seen them. They are not old people. They are going to destroy their careers falling on the sword for this little Napoleon Mayor that we’ve got.
Leahy: What is the next step here? What happens next? Will there bill, as I suggested, a DOJ investigation into this? Will there be a class-action lawsuit against the mayor on this. What happens next?
Cunningham: Dennis Ferrier just foyered this information. So I think at this point there are no further plans. are unbelievable pissed off and upset. And the same guy that about 70 percent of the vote in the election has to be completely underwater now with Nashville voters. I think with public pressure he’s going to have to open things back up. And I’m not sure on a legal front but a lot of people are mad about this and I’m sure this is not the end of the story.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jacks Barbecue” by Jack Koning CC2.0