House Speaker Casada says he was wrong to participate in ‘locker room talk’, won’t resign

Cothren and Casada-873703986

FILE – In this May 2, 2019, file photo, House Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, left, talks with Cade Cothren, right, his chief of staff, during a House session in Nashville, Tenn. Cothren has resigned amid allegations of racist and sexually explicit texts. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada told a Nashville radio station early this morning he has no intention of resigning his position in the wake of the texting scandal involving his former top aide.

During the radio interview on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, the Speaker said he was embarrassed that he responded to his former top aide, Cade Cothren’s texts, three years ago with a few lewd words of his own. 

“I participated in some ‘locker room talk’ if you will, amongst two adult men. I’m not proud of that. I’m embarrassed about that,” Casada said. 

Casada said a disgruntled former employee, who vowed to take both Cothren and Casada down, is the one who released the texts.

This comes as members of the Tennessee Black Caucus and the Tennessee Democrat Party Chair called for a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into Cothren’s texts. The former Chief of Staff admits sending some texts when he says he was a different person three years ago. 

State Senator Brenda Gilmore D-Nashville says, “Cade’s explanation for his conduct is informative is why we fight so hard for equality and civil rights.”

The Black Caucus says the texts portray a “racist and sexist” picture of Tennessee’s Capitol Hill that must be addressed. 

State Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, says, “Speaker Casada must act transparently and expeditiously in finding the truth regarding the veracity of these serious allegations.”

TBI officials say they have been in contact with the state’s District Attorneys General Conference to determine what actions may be appropriate.

Nashville Democrat Vincent Dixie was the only Caucus member calling now for Speaker’s resignation.

The Speaker says he welcomes a TBI investigation and would meet with the Black Caucus as he says he has in the past. 

The Speaker said Monday morning he still has the support of his Republican colleagues. 

Whether he maintains that party support will be a lingering question for the speaker. The Governor and Lt. Governor both released statements today. 

Statement from Governor Bill Lee: 

”When we choose to enter public service, we have an obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard and cultivate an environment of professionalism and respect. We owe it to Tennesseans to ensure they know that all of us in elected office hold ourselves to that high standard. Recent revelations have shaken that faith, and we need to ensure that confidence is fully restored.” 

Statement from Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge):

“Senate leadership and I are greatly disappointed by the inappropriate actions and attitudes revealed in recent news reports. Every person who interacts with the state legislature should be treated with the utmost respect. It is deeply troubling that some have fallen short of this standard. Tennesseans expect and deserve better from those who serve the public trust. Senate leadership is united in our commitment that members and staff continue to uphold the standard Tennesseans demand of their public officials.”

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