NASHVILLE, Tenn. — House Republicans have scheduled a closed door meeting to discuss the future of Tennessee’s embattled House speaker.
House GOP spokesman Doug Kufner says the caucus will meet Monday to decide whether they still have confidence in House Speaker Glen Casada. A location has not yet been determined.
The event will be closed off to the public and press at the request of the lawmakers who spearheaded the caucus meeting.
At least nine Republican lawmakers have called for Casada to step down as speaker, as well as Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups upset with the series of text message scandals that include Casada’s former chief of staff sending racist messages, accusations of evidence tampering and Casada participating in sexually explicit texts with his top aide.
However, Casada has remained undeterred in the calls for his resignation and has said he welcomes an ongoing push to hold a House GOP caucus meeting, which could involve a vote of confidence on whether he should remain the House’s top leader.
“I think that it’s important that I stay because if two texts run someone out of office, then there is no one qualified,” Casada told reporters of two recently revealed text threads. “We’ve got members all across the community that have done things that are not excusable and they’re still in leadership roles. I did those two texts. I’ve sought and received forgiveness for it, and so now it’s time to put the House back together.”
After the text messages were released, Casada assured GOP caucus members during an emergency conference call last week that no more scandalous texts were left to be discovered. He told those Republicans: “Let me be very clear, there’s nothing else to come out.”
However, Monday evening, WTVF-TV reported newly leaked messages from 2016 showing Casada and former chief of staff Cade Cothren — then the Tennessee House Republican caucus press secretary — joking about the ages of two women and asking if they were 21 years old.
According to the text texts, Cothren responded that “it only takes 18,” Casada answered “Lol!!! And true!”
Cothren resigned last week after the initial rounds of text messages were unveiled and he acknowledged using cocaine in his legislative office several years ago.