Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada’s chief of staff Cade Cothren has resigned after allegations that he sent sexually explicit text messages to former interns, lobbyists, and campaign staffers, according to USA Today’s Tennessean. Casada was also allegedly involved in some of the explicit messages.
The Tennessean received copies of texts allegedly sent by Cothren between 2014 and 2016, when he was press secretary for the Speaker.
According to the Tennessean:
Cothren’s explicit text messages include:
- soliciting oral sex and naked photos from an intern
- suggesting he would make sexual advances toward another intern
- seeking sex with a lobbyist
- referring to another woman as a “cunt”
- calling Metro police officers who gave him parking tickets “rent a cop cocksuckers.”
Even worse: many of the leaked texts feature conversations between Cothren and Casada, in which they both made inappropriate remarks about women.
“Just so y’all know, I did f—k [a woman] in the bathroom at [local restaurant] party fowl,” Cothren texted Casada in 2016. “Will send pictures later.”
“Only gone for 60 seconds,” Casada responded. “R u a minute man???;)”
“Yes, I take after you. Like father like son,” Cothren responded.
On Monday, Cothren admitted to sending “derogatory” texts to women, and claimed to have changed.
“I’m just not the same guy that I was several years back,” Cothren, who is 32, said in a statement. “I was young and dumb and immature. There’s no excuse for it at all, and I’m not trying to make excuses, but I can tell you that I have changed since then.”
If our math is correct, 2016 was only three years ago. Cothren must have done a lot of work on himself since then!
As if the sexual harassment wasn’t damning enough, Cothren also admitted to sending racist texts and using cocaine in the legislative office building.
From News Channel 5:
In a text with other friends, Cothren said “black people are idiots.”
He also insisted that Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston be called a “thug n***er.”
Cothren and Casada are also involved in a bizarre saga in which they allegedly framed black student activist Justin Jones for violating a no contact order and doctoring an email supposedly sent by Jones.
“You have some of the most powerful people in this state who are willing to file a false report and to file a false paperwork and to manipulate paperwork to take your freedom away,” Jones told News Channel 5. “That’s something that’s scary.”
Finally, after all of this, Cothren has announced he will resign, saying the “best thing for [him] to do is step down” so the Tennessee House can focus on governing.
“Republicans in the House and Senate accomplished a plethora of great things this year,” he said in a statement. “We have a hell of a leadership team in both chambers and in the governor’s office, and I couldn’t be more proud to have worked with them in 2019.”
Today, as the scandals raged on, Casada repeatedly stood by his now-former chief of staff.
“Who am I to hold that against someone when they’ve turned their life around?” Casada said in a statement regarding Cothren. “It’s a very simple story of a young man going off and making some bad life decisions, but recognizing those bad life decisions.”
Yes, the young man who was your press secretary when he made those life decisions.
However, Casada says that if he had known of Cothren’s harassment of legislative employees, he would have fired him.
“He would have been let go,” Casada told the Tennessean. “If I had known that he was interacting with interns in that manner, I probably would have sent him to rehabilitation.”