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Tag: morgan ortagus

Anti-Semitic Remarks By GOP State Senator Inflame Tennessee Primary Dispute

In a bold display of defiance against the self-proclaimed leader of the Republican party, the Tennessee Republican Party voted Tuesday to kick a Trump-endorsed candidate, Morgan Ortagus, and two others from the primary ballot in the state’s newly-drawn Fifth Congressional District.

Tennessee Republican Party chair Scott Golden confirmed Tuesday that Ortagus and two other congressional hopefuls, Baxter Lee and Robby Starbuck, had been booted from the ballot by the party’s executive committee. The announcement came one week after party officials confirmed that official challenges were filed against all three candidates.

The move is a culmination of a months-long effort by state and local Republicans, including legislators and activists, to challenge Ortagus’ candidacy because she had moved to the state just last year, according to NBC News.

Ortagus expressed her “deep disappointment” in a statement blasting the move, saying, “I’m a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric.” Only three members of the state GOP’s executive committee voted to keep her on the ballot, according to CNN, and a whooping seventeen members voted in favor of the boot.

“As I have said all along, I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative — not establishment party insiders," she continued. "Our team is evaluating the options before us,” Ortagus added in her statement. However, the state GOP’s rules grant the executive committee power to disqualify candidates who don’t adhere to the party’s bylaws.

Golden has shrugged off the criticism generated by the move — which saw him called many names, but not his chair title — saying, "Never Trumper, establishment, RINO, fascist, whatever. It’s just the rules of the Republican Party."

Ortagus’ campaign argued that she had met all the requirements listed in the bylaws, touting her vote in recent GOP primaries, activity in the party’s women’s group, and her endorsement by former President Trump.

Republican State Senator Frank Niceley dismissed the endorsement when speaking to NBC News. "I don't think Trump cares one way or the other. "I think Jared Kushner — he's Jewish and she's Jewish — I think Jared will be upset. Ivanka will be upset. I don't think Trump cares."

Niceley recently came under fire himself for a tirade in which he used Adolf Hitler as an example of how homeless people can turn their lives around. Citing this gaffe, Ortagus fired back Tuesday by saying Niceley "should be ashamed of his repeated anti-Semitic rhetoric."

“I voted for Trump. I supported him,” Niceley said in an interview. “I’ll vote for Trump as long as he lives. But I don’t want him coming out here to tell me who to vote for.”

In a report this week, the Tennessean said it had obtained an April 10 email from GOP committee member Beth Campbell that said "RNC sources" had informed her that former President Trump was “OK” with the move, a claim Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich vehemently denied.

"That is a dirty lie, which should not surprise anyone, given there are RINOs in Tennessee trying to quietly pull strings and illegally remove President Trump’s endorsed candidate, Morgan Ortagus, from the ballot," Budowich said, according to NBC News.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) derided the Tennessee GOP on Twitter, saying, "I can't imagine having the 2024 Republican National Convention in a state that would allow this type of corrupt politics."

Former President Trump’s son, Don Jr., attacked the move in a tweet, too.

Trump, whose endorsement instigated this drawn bout of infighting, has yet to issue a public statement on Ortagus’ removal.

Former Pompeo Flack Knows Zero About District She Wants To Represent

Morgan Ortagus, a former State Department spokesperson under Mike Pompeo, wants to be a congresswoman in Tennessee’s 5th District. The problem is, she knows less than nothing about the district she’s running in.

When Ortagus showed up to Nashville’s talk radio show on 1510 WLAC for an interview Monday, host Michael Patrick Leahy asked if she’d be up for a game of “Taking the Fifth.”

What followed was a total shit show, revealing that the congressional wannabe Barbie was clueless about the district she says she wants to run.

Leahy began with a simple question, asking Ortagus to name the three highways that ran through the district. “I’m a terrible driver,” she said laughing. “I don’t know that. I don’t drive anywhere that I go.”

Okay …

Then Leahy asked her to name the multi-Grammy Award-winning country music singer who owns a popular winery in the district. She attempted to dodge the question saying, “I have been to that winery. It’s great—I love that winery. I bought some wine.” Leahy pushed on asking her to name the singer who owns the winery. She admitted to having no idea, but added that she’d gone there and had “a picnic outside,” and it “was beautiful.”

The answer is Kix Brooks, a country music artist, actor, and film producer best known for being one half of the duo Brooks & Dunn and host of radio's American Country Countdown.

Leahy then asked her who Brig. Gen. Robert Reese Neyland was, to which she plead the fifth.

Neyland was a legendary football player and coach in the U.S. Army and served three stints as the head football coach at the University of Tennessee. There’s even a stadium in Tennessee named after him.

Leahy attempted to go to what should have been Ortagus’ strong suit, politics, but that was an apparent failure as well. When she was asked to name the four previous Republican governors who are still living in Tennessee, she said:

“Well, let’s see. All four of them. No. I know Lee and Haslam. I met with Haslam right after I moved here. What a nice guy. And then, of course, I’ve met Governor Lee,” Ortagus said.

The correct answer is Don Sundquist, Lamar Alexander, and Winifield Dunn.

Leahy then switched topics again, hoping to give the Biden-basher another chance to get at least one answer right. But no chance.

”One of the most famous NASCAR drivers living today lives in the 5th District and has a large auto dealership in Franklin. Who is that,” Leahy asked. To which she answered: “My husband is the car guy. He used to race. He knows all of the racing stuff.”

The answer is Darrell Waltrip.

In one final hope, Leahy asked her again about the political history of her state.

“Who was the only Tennessee governor who ever served time in prison for crimes committed while in office?” he asked, giving her the hint that the man was a Democrat, a well-known Confederate general, one whose name and history have been a source of enormous controversy in Tennessee the last few years and who was born and raised in the community of Chapel Hill, in the 5th district.

But, alas, Ortagus did not know.

The answer is Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was not just any Confederate general, but the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan from 1867 to 1869. Before the war, Forrest amassed substantial wealth as a cotton plantation owner, horse and cattle trader, real estate broker, and slave trader.

The last question was probably the most embarrassing of them all.

Leahy asked her to name the county Chapel Hill is in. Again, she did not know.

“Marshall County. It’s in your district,” Leahy said.

And that my friend is the Republican Party in a nutshell.

Ortagus is running against incumbent Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper, who announced his retirement after more than 32 years in Congress as the current district will be dismantled.

Ortagus has been running on her “concern” over immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border.

“You see a border that he [Biden] has absolutely no control of. It’s a major national security issue. You see inflation over 7.5%. You see people like my neighbors, people who live in the 5th Congressional District in Tennessee, who are making really hard choices about getting a full tank of gas or getting a full cart of groceries. It shouldn’t be that way in America.”

Ortagus served during the Bush administration in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and was posted to Baghdad. She served as a spokesperson for the USAID in 2017 and later worked as an intelligence analyst for the Treasury Department.

While in Baghdad she began exploring Judaism and eventually converted.

“I just had a sense of it really touching me in a way that religion had not in a very, very long time,” Ortagus told Jewish Insider. Following the service, which was held in a U.S. Army trailer, attendees ate a “kosher-ish” meal at the chow hall. “I don’t think we ever had any challah, but we definitely had some rolls,” she said.

She has said that she got her job as an intelligence analyst at the Treasury Department while “at a bar.” Despite her lack of experience, she was hired.

“You may not be the smartest, you may not be the most accomplished, you may not be the best looking; you may not be any of these things, but no matter what, I will outwork you,” she told Jewish Insider.

Well, at least part of that statement is correct.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos