NASHVILLE — During an appearance last week on Fox Business, U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee, was asked if Senate Minority Lee Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, "has what it takes" to move the party forward given two recent episodes in which the 81-year-old froze for several minutes while talking to reporters in Washington and Kentucky.
An examination showed "no evidence" of a stroke or seizure disorder, the Senate's attending physician said.
"I'm going to finish my term as leader, and I'm going to finish my Senate term," McConnell told reporters in Washington. His Senate term runs through January 2027.
"Well, the office of the attending physician put out the results, so I think a pretty thorough evaluation (was done) by a number of experts," Hagerty said. "And he's got a clean bill of health. I spoke with him yesterday. He seems to be just fine. I see no reasons for these concerns.
"It's amazing though how many times I've been asked about Leader McConnell, but when President Biden, you know, has a trip or a stumble like this, the media seems not to care," Hagerty continued. "So again, I think what we're seeing is a two-tiered interest in sort of destabilizing the Republican Party, while they look the other way when it comes to President Joe Biden."
Biden, 80, is running for re-election. Questions have been raised about the president as well.
Gov. Kemp fires shot across Donald Trump's bow
Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp fired a shot on social media across former President Donald Trump's bow over the weekend after the conservative Daily Caller posted video of Trump warning any would-be COVID-19 ID "tyrant" not try to impose mandates amid an increase in infections.
"The fact is former president Trump led the opposition to my decision to reopen Georgia — the first state in the country to do so," Kemp wrote in a social media post Saturday. "While he listened to Fauci & parroted media talking points, I listened to hardworking Georgians.
"He may not remember, but I sure as hell do," added Kemp, who broke with Trump following the 2020 presidential election amid ultimately futile efforts by the then-president and his allies to pressure state officials into overturning election results in Georgia that Democrat Biden won the election in the battleground state.
In the video, Trump, who is running for the GOP's 2024 nomination, issued a warning about COVID-19 enforcement.
"To every COVID tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: We will not comply. So, don't even think about it," Trump said in the video.
Kemp, who has ruled out a 2024 presidential bid, has criticized or defied Trump on other fronts, including joining with Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resist Trump's effort to overturn Biden's victory in Georgia. Trump's actions now have the former president and 18 others facing multiple criminal state-level county grand jury indictments following by an investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat.
The governor last week rejected efforts by Georgia state Sen. Colton Moore, R-Trenton, who called on Kemp to call lawmakers into an emergency session to investigate and possibly impeach Willis for her actions.
"Let me be clear," Kemp told reporters at a news conference. "We have a law in the state of Georgia that clearly outlines the legal steps that can be taken if constituents believe their local prosecutors are violating their oath by engaging in unethical or illegal behavior."
In a move that may provoke heated debate, two Southeast Tennessee lawmakers have introduced legislation for the General Assembly's 2024 session that declares Cleveland as the "hot slaw capital" of the state.
The bill was introduced last month by Sen. Adam Lowe, R-Calhoun, and Rep. Kevin Raper, R-Cleveland.
In case you didn't know, "hot slaw" is a thing in Cleveland, and the city hosts an annual National Hot Slaw Festival, called "Hot Slaw and Art Y'all!" downtown.
It features concoctions made with mustard, mayonnaise and "secret" sauces. The festival also has live music, artist exhibitors, pop-up street performances, family games, contests and food vendors.
"Cleveland and Bradley County have hosted the 'Hot Slaw & Art Y'all' Festival for a number of years, and the attention around this side dish deserves some official recognition!" Lowe said in a text. "Ironically, I don't often eat slaw but still recognize its appeal in good, Southern, backyard cuisine. I can only hope my colleagues in the legislature can see the great potential for hot slaw in our state."
Next year's festival is slated for April 6.
State Rep. Vital attends White House Medal of Honor ceremony for Signal Mountain's Larry Taylor
State Rep. Greg Vital, R-Harrison, was among the attendees Tuesday when Biden awarded Larry Taylor, of Signal Mountain, the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions as an Army pilot to save four fellow soldiers in 1968 during the Vietnam War.
"Yesterday, I was humbled to represent all Tennesseans at the White House as President Biden presented Captain Larry Taylor our nation's highest recognition, the Medal of Honor," Vital said in a social media post that also showed a photo of him standing next to Taylor as well as separate photos of Hagerty and U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, doing likewise.