GOP Senate hopeful Hagerty says he'll back Trump

Hank Hayes • Jan 30, 2020 at 5:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Democrats have been trying to unseat President Trump since he was sworn in, said Tennessee GOP U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty, who pledged Wednesday he will have Trump’s back.

As a member of the Trump transition team in 2016, Hagerty said there were people outside the building screaming “not my president.”

“Nineteen minutes after the oath of office, the Washington Post puts up (online) ‘The case for impeachment begins today,’ ” Hagerty told Sullivan County Republicans at their Eastman Road headquarters.

Hagerty said the increasing pressure on Trump — who has endorsed his candidacy — has actually helped him.

“We need to be doing the work of the people. (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi sat on that U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal for a year,” Hagerty said. “(Trump) needs our support.”

Hagerty, the former U.S. ambassador to Japan, also pointed out there’s more military in Japan than anywhere in the world.

“The reason is it’s in a terrible neighborhood with North Korea, Russia and China,” Hagerty said. “In the past three years, we’ve had more investment coming (into Tennessee) from Japan than ever before in history. Japan is the largest investor in this state.”

Congressional Democrats, Hagerty charged, are pushing anti-business proposals like the so-called “Green New Deal.”

“They would destroy our economy just to get in power,” Hagerty said of Congressional Democrats. “They want to knock out private health insurance for everybody and let the government take over. If you think health care is expensive now, wait til the government runs it.”

Hagerty opened his Gallatin headquarters on Tuesday with Donald Trump Jr. and former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville in attendance.

At the end of September 2019, Hagerty had $1.8 million in cash on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission. Hagerty’s campaign recently announced he raised more than $1.5 million in his second quarter as a candidate.

Nashville surgeon Dr. Manny Sethi, a Republican, is also competing for the U.S. Senate seat and will hold an 11:30 a.m. business roundtable at the Kingsport Chamber on Thursday.

Sethi’s campaign announced on Tuesday it has raised more than $500,000 this past quarter and will show nearly $2 million cash on hand in his campaign’s financial disclosure to the Federal Election Commission due Jan. 31.