Tennessee GOP House Speaker forced to resign over leaked 'locker room' texts
After being exposed for texting illicit and racist messages, Tennessee Republican House Speaker Glen Casada announced he will be stepping down. The leaked text messages were between him and his former chief of staff. NPR reports:
Casada's decision comes hours after the House Republican Caucus cast an unprecedented 45-24 no-confidence vote for the speaker.
On Tuesday, Casada said he will wait until June 3 to discuss with the caucus leadership as to when it best for him to resign. Perhaps now might be a good time.
Opposition to his leadership snowballed after texts were leaked to the media in which Casada and his now-former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, traded lewd remarks. Sent in the summer of 2016, the messages show Casada egging on the aide as he bragged about a sexual encounter in a restaurant bathroom, as one example.
The leaks also included a text message in which Cothren disparaged African Americans, calling black people "idiots." Only one of those went to Casada, and it is not clear whether he responded.
Casada didn’t go down easy. Like many in the GOP, he denied facts and disputed the authenticity of the leaks. Later he casually referred to the texts as “locker room talk”—you know, sort of like “grab ‘em by the p*ssy” talk. Finally, he admitted the texts were real and apologized. He had no choice. Governor Bill Lee was prepared to call a special session if Casada didn’t resign. Down he goes.
Casada, a prevalent GOP leader in Tenessee served as the Speaker for the state House of Representatives for two decades.
This isn’t the first scandal for Casada. In 2016 he publicly denied rumors that he had an extramarital affair. He’s since divorced. Ironically, in a WPLN interview before taking the speaker position, Casada said:
"You don't see me hide," Casada said. "My life is an open life, and just watch how I live."
We’ve watched how you live, Glen. “Open life” has not been a good thing for you.