On August 2nd, speaker Glen Casada became former Speaker Glen Casada. Cameron Sexton will be stepping in to fill his very small shoes during a special session August 23rd.
The disgraced now-former Tennessee speaker’s downfall can be traced back to his refusal to meet with activists who insisted the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest – the KKK’s first Grand Wizard – be removed from the capitol. This week, Casada’s also disgraced former chief of staff Cade Cothren, who was outed for using the N Word and calling black people “idiots”, among other things, joined them in their call to move the bust, saying in a Twitter conversation it should be “sent to a museum”.
The list of Casada’s transgressions is long – we did our best to list them in video form HERE – but the beginning of his downfall can be traced back to one very specific issue: The bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, which sits prominently in Tennessee’s state Capitol, and Casada’s refusal to meet with the activists who have long been calling for its removal.
?NEW VIDEO: THE SPEAKER @GlenCasada SUPERCUT?
The lies, racism, drugs, sexism, fraud, spying, bribery, and covering for child sex abusers that has gone on here in Tennessee on Speaker @GlenCasada‘s watch.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 10, 2019
Casada’s predecessor Speaker Beth Harwell Met with the activists, many of which are students. Casada would not. Instead, he gave them the runaround, dodging them in the halls of the Capitol and having his chief of staff Cothren lie directly to their faces about misspelled emails.
NEW VIDEO: “Tennessee Students to Governor @BillLeeTN – Remove KKK Grand Wizard Bust From State Capital!”
“We’re tired of being tired.” – @JeneishaCHarris
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 1, 2019
Eventually the frustration of activists Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris boiled over and resulted in Jones throwing a paper cup of iced (not hot) tea (not coffee) at Casada as he fled into a private elevator.
The assault & disorderly conduct charges filed against Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris respectively in the aftermath are still pending. (The next hearing is August 15th at 9AM in courtroom 4D)
Another issue still outstanding is that of Casada’s former Chief of staff Cade Cothren, who resigned amid numerous scandals of his own, and whether or not he falsified the date on an email date to make it look like Jones contacted Casada in violation of a court order, which would have landed Jones in jail.
Casada and Cothren claim the date discrepancy can be chalked up to an issue with the legislature’s SPAM filters delaying the email, and special prosecutor on the case Craig Northcott – the D.A. in Coffee County, who himself is under fire for open Islamophobia, homophobia, and a refusal to respect the authority of the Supreme Court – appears to be taking their word for it. Despite calls by Jones, and even Cothren himself, for Northcott to bring in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for an independent investigation about the possibly fraudulent emails, Northcott has refused.
The possible framing of a civil rights activist aside, Cothren resigned due to numerous other scandals – many of which Casada was complicit in – including lewd, sexist texts and behavior, an admission that he was doing cocaine at his desk during work hours, and racism. Lots of racism.
Cothren used the “N Word” to describe quarterback Jameis Winston. He said “black people are idiots.” The list goes on.
A lot has happened since the beginning of Casada and Cothren’s downfall, and so many Phil Williams stories later it’s hard to remember how it all started… but it can all be traced back to one thing: That bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard in the legislature.
Casada has not expressed a willingness to move the bust, instead saying that adding “historical context” would be more appropriate (without specifying what that means).
Govenor Lee says a “conversation needs to be had” about the bust, again without providing specifics, and just recently agreed to take action to stop celebrating July 13th as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” after nationwide backlash – including from Republican Senator Ted Cruz – in the wake of his signing a proclamation to reaffirm it.
This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law. https://t.co/XBgoRCBoI0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 12, 2019
While Casada and Lee remain noncommittal, Casada’s “N Word”-using Former Chief of staff Cade Cothren has now changed his tune, conceding in a conversation on Twitter with Nashville native @AliceRolli1 that the bust should indeed be moved:
The comment comes as part of what appears to be an effort by Cothren to repair his image, an effort that has mainly consisted of joining Twitter and sending Taylor Swift memes to his critics while using Taylor Swift lyrics to challenge them to a fight in his Twitter bio.
“Sure, send it to the museum” is clearly a flippant, dismissive way to come around to a position on a serious topic concerning a statue much of Tennessee’s African-American population considers to be a painful reminder of a dark past. That being said, it’s also a clear departure from the official position his disgraced boss Casada’s office held when the then-speaker was dodging Jones & Harris in the halls, turning a deaf ear to protestors who were imploring Tennessee leadership to listen to Tennessee’s black citizens and move the symbol of hate.
Cothren is clearly trying to make himself employable in the state of Tennessee again so his motives can’t be viewed as entirely altruistic, but if a Republican speaker’s chief of staff who once said “black People are idiots” and called Jameis Winston the N Word is now willing to publicly call for the bust to be sent to a museum… well, these days in Tennessee, that certainly counts as progress.