Tennessee House speaker: 'base' texts aren't disqualifying

Friday, May 10, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 19

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's Republican House speaker is pushing back against calls to resign, arguing if a handful of "base" text messages can run someone out of office, then no one is qualified.

Speaker Glen Casada made the comments Monday as he faces mounting scandals, including one involving recently revealed texts he exchanged several years ago with his former chief of staff containing lewd remarks about women. He argued there are members communitywide who've done inexcusable things but remain in leadership roles.

Casada met Monday with the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators to apologize for racist texts by the ex-top aide, among other discussions. Casada says he was on one group text with a racist message, but claims he didn't see it.

Seven Republican House members have called for Casada's speakership resignation.