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ICYMI TN-SEN THIS WEEK: UNMASKING HAGERTY’S PRETTY HATE MACHINE

ICYMI TN-SEN THIS WEEK: UNMASKING HAGERTY’S PRETTY HATE MACHINE

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2020

NASHVILLE – If there was ever a week that reinforced contrasting choices, this was it. From railing against “censorship” in the wake of hate speech running in an ad in Sunday’s Tennessean, “left wing, angry mobs” to posing for photo ops with anti-government militants, Bill Hagerty has enjoyed a banner week. Conversely, decorated Iraq war combat veteran James Mackler stood with Tennesseans speaking out against hate, stood up for protecting Medicare and Social Security, and joined thousands signing a letter to “stand with each other against all forms of hatred” sent to the Tennessean

UNMASKING THAT THIS THING IS STILL KILLING PEOPLE

Starting with an underwhelming crowd in Oklahoma (or what Bill Hagerty called unstoppable momentum in Oklahoma?) and finishing with the highest number of new cases reported in a day, Team Hagerty’s golden ticket cancelled further Federal COVID testing this week and sought to have the Affordable Care Act invalidatedspecifically targeting pre-existing conditions despite spending all year saying otherwise. None of that stopped Hagerty from continuing his unmasked tour of Tennessee despite warnings from folks like Metro Nashville Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry, who discussed his experience with the virus and urged precautions. Like Hagerty, according to a White House official, the president “will never change on the mask. He doesn’t want that picture. He knows masks are important, but he doesn’t want that image or to admit he is wrong.

UNMASKING FAKE NEWS

A Washington Post analysis released yesterday “explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic.” Who knew that downplaying the severity of the threat and ignoring safety guidelines could negatively impact outcomes? Apparently not Bill Hagerty, who spent the first part of June actively courting the Republican National Convention to relocate to Nashville when they needed a new home for failing to adhere to public health guidelines put forth by officials in Charlotte, NC. 

UNMASKING WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING AT THE WH COVID TASK FORCE?!?

Today, Vice President Pence will hold the first White House COVID Task Force meeting in two months. It’s not clear if Bill Hagerty will remove himself from his unmasked tour of Tennessee to be there — though it would be strange for him to do so after practically declaring “mission accomplished” on the virus earlier this week. More troubling is that more than a few things have popped up since the last meeting two months ago, from the Koch Brothers-funded, COVID Task Forcer Stephen Moore-orchestrated astroturfed protests against public health-promoting sheltering guidelines, sharp increases in cases and hospitalizations, 65,000 dead Americans, 17 million new unemployment claims filed, and no fewer than three Hagerty events headlined by White House staff. Mercy. 

UNMASKING ONE REALLY ANGRY MOB

While Bill Hagerty has tweeted more than 50 times about angry mobs this past month, the angriest organized-crime-syndicate there is, is made up of the very folks trying to install him into the U.S. Senate. From tear-gassing Americans for photo-ops, firing those conducting investigations into wrong doing (and again), to blatantly ignoring oversight on emergency stimulus funds, to sending $1.4 billion to dead people (again there’s no oversight), to organizing unsuccessful protests and lying about more widely attended demonstrations, to the lengths taken to exonerate a traitor who pled guilty (Hagerty: “great news”), the noise and threats to democracy emanating from Team Hagerty’s biggest backers is deafening. 

UNMASKING MORE HOSTILITY TOWARDS THE RULE OF LAW

Life comes at ya’ fast: it’s been a full year since Hagerty campaign booster Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway was subpoenaed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for failing to appear in response to multiple violations of Federal law. She stumped for Hagerty this week so maybe she’ll get to add another Hatch Act violation to her list. 

UNMASKING NON-ALTERNATIVE FACTS…AGAIN

Hagerty launched a second ad promising to “hit China where it hurts,” doubling down on the type of tough talk his golden ticket enjoys. But, as CNN’s Sam Vinograd put it last weekend, “If asking China for foreign election interference is ‘tough,’ I don’t know what soft is.” Here are a few more body shots bruising Hagerty’s claims: 

FACT: Hagerty is claiming he will bring back the same supply chain his ECD shipped overseas

FACT: Tennessee led the nation in minimum wage workers while Hagerty was at ECD.

FACT: Hagerty has advocated for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deeply unpopular opinion that states and cities suffering economically from the COVID-19 pandemic should consider “the bankruptcy route”, which financial analysts say “risks causing a depression.” 

UNMASKING HAGERTY’S TOUGH TALK ON VOTE BY MAIL

Hagerty has taken to Twitter in recent weeks to voice his disdain for vote-by-mail, an electoral tool that records show he’s used multiple times over the years. On this, and in so many other instances, Hagerty’s Twitter feed is really a decaffeinated version of his golden ticket. It doesn’t appear this tough talk has scared the Tennessee Judicial System, as vote-by-mail is something voters of all ages will be able to do according to a ruling this week. James Mackler, who’s been endorsed by both End Citizens United and Let America Vote — the nation’s leading organizations on voting rights and democracy reform — has advocated for measures to ensure that every Tennessean can make their voice heard safely.

UNMASKING THE ‘THOUGHT LEADERS’

Bill Hagerty’s constant refrain against “organized” protests is curious, as it’s a tactic tied directly to the White House COVID Task Force – an entity Hagerty has used to fund his Senate campaign – through fellow “thought leader” Stephen Moore, and the comparatively sparsely attended protests in April to prematurely end pandemic sheltering public health safety measures. According to the New York Times, Moore “had been pushing the administration and governors to loosen the stay-at-home orders as soon as possible. He’s been working closely with groups like FreedomWorks to nurture and promote some of the protests across the country.”  Another COVID Task Force Thought Leader, Art Laffer, who once called minimum wage the “black teenage unemployment act,” has hosted a campaign call for Hagerty. Other White House officials, including Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow, who has repeatedly denied the existence of systemic racism, as well as Kellyanne Conway have headlined conference calls to support Hagerty.

UNMASKING GOP SILENCE ON CORRUPTION

John Bolton’s book exposed even more corruption in the Trump administration this week and, as has become customary, Republican senators remained silent on the matter. Hagerty ally Secretary Mike Pompeo, the guy who fired an independent watchdog investigating him, called Bolton a traitor. I guess Bolton shouldn’t expect to receive one of those taxpayer-funded “Madison Dinner” invites for GOP donors anytime soon. No word yet if Bill Hagerty, a bundler for Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, was one of the “dozens of GOP donors” on the 360-person guest list. But, having already collected a series of no comments from Tennessee outlets, Bill Hagerty has mastered the silence playbook. We also have Trump transition leader Hagerty to thank for appointing the wealthiest Cabinet in history — it’s no wonder they continue to be exposed for looking out for themselves instead of those they’re meant to serve. 

UNMASKING THE UNMASKING

Hagerty continues to traffic in conspiracy theories, just like his golden ticket, as even critics of the last administration have found the courage to stand up to the president’s claims. REMINDER: Flynn’s communications were captured because of on-going surveillance of Russian Ambassador Kislyak’s phone, and they show private-citizen Flynn violating the Logan Act, which “criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.” Bill Hagerty calls Flynn an exonerated hero, and that’s it. When asked about Flynn in his Senate confirmation hearing, Hagerty repeatedly answered “in light of the confidentiality interests that attach to executive branch decision making, I am unable to answer this question further.”

AND ALSO THIS UNMASKING 

Reporting from The Times-Free Press shows “Tennesseans are among the least likely in the U.S. to wear face coverings.” As Tennessee’s top health official reminded everyone this week, “masks are not a political statement. They are a sign that you care for your neighbor and you care for yourself.” Bill Hagerty made his bare face a political statement by continuing to follow his unmasked leader. While they handed out masks to press at Trump’s rally, we don’t expect Team Hagerty to extend you all the same courtesy.

UNMASKING THE BEST DUNK IN MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES HISTORY

Half-man, half-amazing

130 days until Election Day. 

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