Donald Trump

Tenn. abortion ban in effect for less than an hour before it is halted

The House meets at the state Capitol in Nashville on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A federal judge on Monday granted an temporary restraining order against enforcing Tennessee’s sweeping abortion ban less than an hour after Gov. Bill Lee signed it into law.

U.S. District Judge Chip Campbell, an appointee President Donald Trump, found  “plaintiffs have demonstrated a strong or substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claims that the restrictions …  are unconstitutional under current law.”

“Like the Seventh, Eighth, and Fifth Circuits, this Court is bound by the Supreme Court holdings prohibiting undue burdens on the availability of pre-viability abortions,” he wrote in the ruling.

Read the order here.

The bill seeking to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected passed in a last-minute deal between the House and Senate the night the General Assembly adjourned for the year.  If any part of the bill was found to be unconstitutional, the law seeks to impose successive abortion bans eight, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 weeks of gestation. That “ladder” approach didn’t appear to keep most of the law from being enjoined.

 

Alexander opposes Trump move on WHO

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attends an event at the state Capitol in Nashville on Dec. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is speaking out against President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw the United States’ membership in the World Health Organization.

Alexander (R-Maryville) is the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Pension, and Labor Committee. Here’s what he said on the WHO decision:

I disagree with the president’s decision. Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it. Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines, which citizens of the United States as well as others in the world need. And withdrawing could make it harder to work with other countries to stop viruses before they get to the United States. If the administration has specific recommendations for reforms of the WHO, it should submit those recommendations to Congress, and we can work together to make those happen.

While critics tend to label the retiring senator a moderate, FiveThirtyEight.com rates him among one of the more likely members to vote with the president at 90.3% of the time. Tennessee’ junior senator, Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, votes with Trump 91.9% of the time, according the site. Here’s where some senators rate in relation

  • Cruz (R-Texas): 92.4%
  • Blackburn (R-Tenn.): 91.9%
  • Scott (R-Fla.): 91.9%
  • Rubio (R-Fla.): 90.8%
  • Alexander (R-Tenn.): 90.3%
  • Cotton (R-Ark.): 87.7%
  • Graham (R-S..C.): 87.1%
  • Romney (R-Utah): 81.1%
  • Paul (R-Ky.): 69.6%

Trump taps Haslam as Wilson Center chair

Then-Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at an event at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville on Aug. 28, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

President Donald Trump is appointing former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as the chairman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center was founded in 1968 and describes itself as “the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community.”

Haslam served as governor from 2011 to 2019.

Wilson Center board members are appointed to six-year terms. Haslam will succeed fellow former Republican Gov. Scott Walker as chair.

Walker took over following the death of businessman and GOP fundraiser Fred Malek last year. Malek was the finance chair of the Republican Governors Association from 2008 until his death. Haslam was elected chairman of the RGA in 2015 and 2018.

New Hagerty ad touts business experience (and Trump)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty’s latest TV ad touts his business experience. But don’t call it a pivot — the 30-second spot still contains three references to President Donald Trump.

Here’s what the transcript:

Just like President Trump, Bill Hagerty is a can-do  businessman. Hagerty led economic development in Tennessee, making our economy one of the strongest in America. That’s why President Trump put Hagerty on his advisory board to rebuild America’s economy.  Bill Hagerty will fight to bring manufacturing jobs back from China while cutting taxes for small businesses and workers. Endorsed by President Trump, Bill Hagerty is the proven job creator. 

 

Protests held in cities around Tennessee over coronavirus response

Protests were held in Tennessee cities over the weekend to demand an end to shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They included about 300 demonstrators rallying outside the state Capitol in Nashville, The Tennessean reports. The protests came as Tennessee’s confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 7,000, including 148 deaths.

“We’re all here for one reason,” Kim Edwards, a Nashville rally organizer, announced. “And it’s our rights. It’s our freedom.”

The protests followed tweets from President Donald Trump on Friday calling for people to “liberate” states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia, where similar protests had taken place.

One of the protesters in Nashville appeared to be none other than former Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin), who was thrown out of the General Assembly following allegations of serial sexual misconduct.

 

Alexander, Blackburn named to Trump’s economic recovery initiative

U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) and Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attend a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) have been named to President Donald Trump’s economic recovery initiative.

“The way to contain this disease and get back to work and back to school is to put politics aside and work together as fast as we can on new tests, new treatments, and new vaccines,” Alexander said in a release. “Everyone I know wants this to happen as quickly as we responsibly can, and I welcome the opportunity to help in this way.”

“This pandemic is affecting Americans of all backgrounds, in every sector, and figuring out how we re-open our country requires a targeted approach,” Blackburn said in a statement. “I am grateful that President Trump has selected me to join that effort, and look forward to working with my colleagues to come up with a solution that serves the American people.”

Trump says he will visit Tennessee on Friday following deadly storm

President Donald Trump says he plans to visit Tennessee on Friday in the aftermath of a deadly storm that left at least 25 dead.

“I want to send my warm wishes to the great people of Tennessee in the wake of the horrible and very vicious tornado that killed at least 19 people and injured many more,” Trump said in remarks at the National Association of Counties meeting in Washington on Tuesday.

“It’s a vicious thing, those tornadoes, I’ve seen many of them over a three-year period and I’ve gotten to see the results and they are vicious,” Trump said. “If you’re in their path, bad things happen.”

 

 

Poll: Trump has big advantage over any Democrat in Tennessee

New polling results suggest President Donald Trump doesn’t have much to fear in his efforts to carry Tennessee again in November. According to a survey by Mason-Dixon, Tennessee voters give Trump a wide advantage, regardless of who turns out to be the Democratic nominee.

Here are the head to heads:

  • Trump 55%, Joe Biden 39%.
  • Trump 57%, Bernie Sanders 37%.
  • Trump 57%, Elizabeth Warren 36%.
  • Trump 55%, Pete Buttigieg 38%.
  • Trump 54%, Mike Bloomberg 39%.

The poll of 625 registered voters, including 247 Republicans, 207 independents, and 171 Democrats, was conducted between Jan. 28 and Jan. 30. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Tennessee Super Tuesday presidential primary is on March 3.

Tennessee delegation comments on Trump acquittal

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Here’s what members of the Tennessee congressional delegation had to say about the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump following his impeachment trial:

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood):

The impeachment of President Donald J. Trump was not a matter of procedure—it was an attempted coup, brought forth at the expense of the safety and prosperity of the American people. Every member of Congress must now reflect, remember, and take to heart the real legacy of this dark moment in history, when ruthless partisanship undermined due process, trampled the rule of law, and very nearly erased from precedent those rules that underpin our democratic republic.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville):

The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution clearly provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that began on Monday in Iowa.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis)

I voted for the articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee and on the House floor and believe the House managers proved their case in the Senate beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the Senate required a two-thirds vote to remove the President from office, he will remain. But his ignominious impeachment will always be the legacy of his reckless and lawless presidency. A bipartisan majority of Congress has voted to impeach or convict him, and that’s a blemish on his record that the American public should consider in evaluating his remaining time in office.

U.S. Rep. John Rose (R-Cookeville):

Just as we knew from the beginning, House Democrats’ impeachment process was purely partisan and an embarrassment to our country. More importantly, their focus on this process served as a distraction from the work the American people sent us to Washington, D.C., to accomplish.

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis):

I commend the Senate for acquitting the President today and putting an end to this partisan endeavor. The fact is, President Trump did nothing wrong, and today’s acquittal proves just that. Now that this impeachment is behind us, I look forward to working closely with President Trump to pass real legislation that would improve our infrastructure, secure our border, and continue to boost our already thriving economy.

 

Before it was expedient? New Hagerty ad features Donald Trump Jr.

A new ad for Bill Hagerty features Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, speaking on the Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s behalf at a fundraiser and rally in Gallatin last week. The ad also features the dubious claim by the president’s oldest son that Hagerty was “on the Trump train before it was politically expedient.”

As The Tennessee Journal reported in September:

Despite Hagerty’s heavy emphasis on his links to Trump, his relationship with the president doesn’t go back all that far. The new candidate had been an early backer of Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential bid and was named to the former Florida governor’s Tennessee slate of delegates alongside former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Nashville) and fellow former state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd.

When Bush’s bid fizzled out, Hagerty wrote a $2,700 check to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, also of Florida, on the eve of the Tennessee presidential primary. But Trump ended up carrying all but Williamson County in that contest and was formally awarded the Republican nomination in July. [Hagerty was named a Trump bundler, or state victory finance chair, on July 1, 2016]

Hagerty contributed $2,700 to the Trump campaign in September 2016, but by that point he had already been tapped as the director of presidential appointments for the nominee’s transition team, a position responsible for selecting and vetting, more than 4,000 jobs. Hagerty had done similar work for Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.