Fact Check: Ambassador Hagerty’s Campaign Timeline

Fact Check: Ambassador Hagerty’s Campaign Timeline

For Immediate Release: August 5, 2020

NASHVILLE — U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty, the former Ambassador to Japan, has repeatedly misled news outlets regarding when exactly he resigned his post after President Trump tweet-launched Hagerty’s U.S. Senate campaign on July 12, 2019. Hagerty most recently claimed he launched his campaign four days later in the New York Times, and in February told Tennessee’s Covington Leader he “served in that capacity until last June, when he resigned in order to run for office.”

Team Hagerty has good motivation to fudge his departure timeline, as on August 1, 2019, the New York Times reported on the rapid deterioration of a security relationship between United States allies Japan and South Korea. 

The agreement allows the two allies of the United States to share intelligence on North Korea, such as tracking data on ballistic missiles fired by the North. If that agreement is abrogated, it would be the clearest sign yet that the festering dispute was undermining the United States’ efforts to expand a security partnership with South Korea and Japan.

Just days earlier on July 30, 2019, WKRN reported, “President may temporarily need Ambassador Hagerty more in Japan than running for U.S. Senate,” to explain why nearly three weeks after the Tweet-launch, Hagerty was not yet in the Senate race. 

“Reportedly, he’s been a point person and heavily engaged about what’s going on in Japan, but also in North Korea, the China trade and even friction with Japan and Korea,” said conservative commentator Steve Gill. “So, there is a lot on the platter for him to unravel and at the end–still in the process of handling those things.”

On August 14, 2019, Hagerty tweeted the first-ever message from his campaign account (@BillHagertyTN), wishing himself a happy birthday. 

On September 9, 2019, Bill Hagerty tweeted he had launched his campaign. According to his FEC report, Hagerty’s first campaign donation was from James S. “Jimbo” Conner, for $1,666.67 and received on September 3, 2019. 

On July 12, 2020 Team Hagerty celebrated their first year by posting a produced campaign video a year after the president’s tweet-launch. If true, Hagerty’s produced campaign-style video farewell message to Japan, posted on July 21, 2019, was paid for by American taxpayers. Additionally, Hagerty broke FEC campaign finance laws by failing to report a $5,600 donation made by U.S. Senator Mitt Romney that was deposited in the bank before Team Hagerty issued a refund.


July 12, 2019 – Trump Tweet Launches Hagerty’s run.

July 16, 2019 – Hagerty announced he will resign from his Ambassadorship.

July 21, 2019 – U.S. Embassy in Japan posts Hagerty’s taxpayer funded goodbye/campaign video.

July 30, 2019 – WKRN reports Hagerty is still in Japan reportedly running point on the rising tensions between Japan and South Korea.

August 1, 2019 – South Korea and Japan Intelligence sharing agreement falls apart.

August 14, 2019 – First tweet from Bill Hagerty’s campaign Twitter account @BillHagertyTN, celebrating his birthday. 

September 3, 2019 – First reported donation to Team Hagerty from Jimbo Conner for $1,666.67. 

September 9, 2019 – Hagerty “officially” launches Senate race for himself.