Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) is holding onto his reputation and political viability by his fingertips as wave after wave of scandal crashes over his office, already sinking his powerful chief of staff Monday night.
A chain of text messages between Casada and his now ex-chief of staff Cade Cothren reveals lewd and sexually explicit comments about women the two made in 2016.
Taking a leaf from President Donald Trump’s book, Casada dismissed the conversations Tuesday as “locker talk” of a (three years) younger man.
“Three years ago, I participated in base locker room talk, if you will, amongst two adult men,” he told Tennessee radio station WWTN. “I’m not proud of that.”
“I’m embarrassed about that. In the last couple of years, I have come to realize — I can’t do this and it is not appropriate behavior,” he continued. “So, yes, I participated in locker-room talk with two adult men that was not intended to go to anyone else, and I was wrong…In the last several years, that kind of talk has not entered and left my mouth.”
“I got caught up in the moment,” he said. “That’s not me today.”
He said that the texts were provided by a “disgruntled employee” who Casada fired and who vowed to take Cothren down.
He also insisted that he did not know Cothren snorted cocaine on government premises or that he sexually harassed interns, information released in other text conversations that Casada did not appear to be a part of.
One example of the sexually explicit texts was reported by Nashville’s NewsChannel 5, when Cothren allegedly texted a picture of a woman pole dancing to the Speaker:
Casada responded: “Nice pics.”
Cothren: “Hands to yourself :)”
Casada: “Can I just touch?”
Cothren: “Lol okay maybe just once.”
Casada added to WWTN that he still enjoys “overwhelming” support from House Republicans and that he does not intend to step down, as Democrats gear up to push for the his resignation.
Read a deep dive on the many facets of this unfurling scandal here.