Guest Host Ben Cunningham Reviews Wilson County Trump Day Dinner as Democracy in Action

Live from Music Row Friday 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 Leahy welcomed guest host Ben Cunningham in studio to recap last night’s Trump Day Dinner in Wilson County, Tennessee.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by our good friend for decades.

Cunnigham: Ouch. (Laughter)

Leahy: We’ve known each other for decades.

Cunningham: Yes, for decades, unfortunately.

Leahy: The founder of the Nashville Tea Party, the occasional guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, my very good friend, Ben Cunningham. Good morning, Ben.

Cunningham: Good morning, Michael. It’s great to be back. It was a great night last night.

Leahy: For our listeners, you were in attendance last night.

Cunningham: Yes.

Leahy: At the Wilson County Trump Day Dinner, which included a straw poll and a forum of 11 of the candidates running for the Republican nomination in the new 5th Congressional District. Give our audience a sense of what that evening was like.

Cunningham: It was a great evening and there was a lot of energy in the room. I think people are energized in general now.

We know what the left is now. It was clear to many of us, I think, over the years, but with Trump and then Biden, the left and the far left have come into focus.

These are folks that want to destroy our constitutional Republic. They want to teach our children these gender things. I don’t know what the hell it is.

Leahy: They want to sexualize our kids, get it all going to LGBTQ.

Cunningham: It’s crazy.

Leahy: Everything is intersectional.

Cunnigham: Climate change, social justice, it’s all in one big pot. And it basically means that if you oppose them, you’re a deeply evil person and you must be silenced. Their tyrants. They’re basically tyrants.

And so everybody, I think, is energized. They’re ready to fight. And so the vibe was good. And I think in general, you’re going to see more of that with Republican meetings this year. But it was good. The speeches were interesting.

Leahy: 11 speeches. As you notice, we gave them a five-minute time limit. And about 10 minutes with four minutes and 50 seconds. I was back up on the podium moving close to them.

Cunningham: You were kind of the bouncer.

Leahy: Okay, I got the hook ready now. Five minutes means five minutes. What I found interesting is of the 11 candidates, seven took five minutes exactly.

Cunnigham: Really?

Leahy: Yes. Two went over a bit. Not by too much, no. I think the most went over was like 40 seconds, and then one went over about 15 seconds, and then two were under five minutes.

But my general advice would be if you have a five-minute slot, take three minutes and make that speech pop. Because I got to admit, by the time of the last speaker, which was, by the way, Andy Ogles, who won the straw poll, I was starting to fade.

Cunningham: You got a room full of people that are, how shall we say, kind of an older demographic.

Leahy: There were a lot of young people. It was after dinner. So we started the forum right after the dinner. By the way, I want to say thank you.

I didn’t mention this earlier. I want to say thank you to the Wilson County Republican Party. Brad Lytle is the chair and May Beavers the vice-chair.

Cunningham: Brad has come in and just hit the ground running.

Leahy: Well, it’s because he’s from upstate New York.

Cunningham: Absolutely. And you’re not biased?

Leahy: Not at all. Of course, the last time I lived in upstate New York, that would be a long time. He moved here about four years ago. But I was very touched because I served as a master of ceremonies. They gave me a wonderful painting.

It was a great painting of Donald Trump that a local artist from Gallatin put together. Beautifully done. And it’s like Donald Trump kind of with his sleeves rolled up, and an American flag behind it, and a little dedication to me for being the master of ceremonies. It was very nice, very unexpected. I really appreciate that.

Cunningham: It was nice. And they’re just a really nice group of folks there. May Beavers and Terri and all those folks out there have built a great foundation and Brad has carried it on. And John Brown and all the other folks out there that work so hard.

Leahy: It’s democracy in action.

Cunningham: It is democracy in action. And we’re seeing that more and more across the state.

Leahy: Steve Bannon calls it participatory populism.

Cunningham: That’s a great phrase.

Leahy: Have you not heard that?

Cunningham: No, I haven’t. It’s poetic.

Leahy: It’s also Ben, it’s alliterative.

Cunningham: Yes. It is alliterative.

Leahy: We must like it because it’s alliterative.

Cunningham: But that same energy is just we’re seeing it everywhere. I did a Facebook Live with a guy named Kurt Riley up in Sumner County, and those guys are just taking names and kicking behind.

And we’ve seen that all across the state, especially the school board races, of course, Williamson County with Moms for Liberty, Robin.

Leahy: They’ve got a full slate down there. There’s a lot of energy. It’s wonderful among the constitutional conservatives, populists, who want to participate.

A lot of energy out there. That I think was very good. This was like a very big room, 400 people. There were like 40 tables of ten people each or maybe 50 of eight people. I forget what the number was, but it was really a really big crowd.

Cunningham: And lots of candidates were there. Lots of local candidates.

Leahy: Yes. Lots of local candidates.

Cunningham: And since the local races are partisan this year, that has kind of inspired a lot of people. And I hate to get too overconfident.

People talk about we’re taking the House back and all these numbers, and we’ve got several months before now. Lots of things can change.

Leahy: Things can change. And frankly, one of my concerns is will the grifter in chief make a big mistake in the international arena between now and November? I don’t know.

Cunningham: I think he’s already made several big mistakes.

Leahy: Thank you very much. A really big mistake.

Cunningham: Really big mistakes.

Leahy: Even worse than his big mistakes already.

Cunningham: The video two or three days ago of him wandering around with Obama trying to get Obama’s attention.

Leahy: Where’s my food tray? I want my Jello.

Cunningham: It was just the perfect metaphor. The guy is just incapable and hopefully, we can keep his finger away from any buttons. (Laughter)

Listen to the interview 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.

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