Speaker ‘welcomes’ TN House GOP questions while party leader seeks ‘Godly wisdom’

State-Capitol

A Tennessee House leader says he’s doing “a lot of praying and soul searching” about the future of Speaker Glen Casada as the speaker says he “welcomes” questions about keeping him in the position.

Asst. House Republican Majority Leader Ron Gant will be among the expected 65 GOP members at a specially called closed-door party caucus meeting Monday to address Speaker Casada’s role in a texting scandal that has been called “racist” and “sexist.” 

There will likely be a vote Monday on whether or not the Republicans, who hold nearly three-quarters of the seats in the House, still support Speaker Casada.

Rep. Gant says that along with praying, he’s been “seeking Godly wisdom” on the issue.

Deciding whether or not to support Speaker Casada is a difficult choice for lawmakers like Gant.

“‘Can you effectively lead going forward?'” Gant said when asked what is the No. 1 question he wants to be answered at Monday’s critical meeting. 

New reports accused Speaker Casada’s now-fired Chief of Staff Cade Cothren of allegedly sending racist and sexist texts three years ago.

The speaker has admitted responding to a few of the sexually explicit texts.

“My sin was I used base language… that was not appropriate talk for the Speaker of the House,” Casada said on Monday after meeting with members of the Legislative Black Caucus.

“I welcome next week’s Caucus meeting and look forward to hearing from my colleagues and answering their questions,” Speaker Casada said Thursday afternoon. “I am confident the more they have the actual facts before them the better.”

“I am interested in what the speaker has to say and to hear other members say ‘how do we move forward in a positive way’ ” says Rep. Gant.

“I  would say at this point I am going into that meeting with an open mind and to hear what everyone has to say,” added Gant. “and, at that point, I will make that decision.”

There is no mechanism for House members to directly remove Casada as the speaker, but they hope he would resign the post if a majority of the dominant Republicans say they do not support him going forward.

The speaker has not indicated if he would resign if there is a no-confidence vote.

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