Toughening his position, Tennessee Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally now says embattled GOP House Speaker Glen Casada should resign his leadership post.
McNally told WBIR-TV Friday that he thinks Casada should step aside, though it’s the House’s decision. McNally has apparently changed his position. He declined to say Thursday whether Casada should resign, then later said Casada would likely be asked to resign if he were a senator.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee also strengthened his criticism of Casada over recently released text messages involving Casada and a former top aide with lewd remarks about women, among other mounting scandals.
Lee said Thursday that, if Casada were in his administration or an executive at Lee’s company, he would ask him to resign.
Casada has rebuffed resignation calls and released a plan he says will regain trust.
Similarly, Tennessee’s U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn also declined to weigh in on whether Casada should continue to serve as House speaker.
Blackburn served in the Tennessee General Assembly between 1999 and 2003, leaving before Casada took office in the House. She was elected to the U.S. Senate last November. The two reside in the same powerful GOP-dominant legislative district just south of Nashville, where Gov. Bill Lee also lives.
“A decision on whether he steps down or not, that will be for the House Republican Caucus who elected him to make that decision. And then his service depends on the people who elected him and they’re the ones that will make that decision,” Blackburn said during a conference call with reporters Thursday. “The things that I’ve read, the comments, the texts, are pretty disgusting.”
Separately, a handful of 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 have ranged from Casada’s former chief of staff sending racist messages, accusations of evidence tampering and Casada participating in sexually explicit text messages with his former key staffer.
Casada has pushed back against calls to resign the speakership in recent days. Instead, he released an apology and a four-part “action plan” on Wednesday promising it would help regain trust from his members.
House speakers in Tennessee serve two years before seeking reelection. Casada has been speaker since January.