Gov. Bill Lee, the Republican of Tennessee, told the “Todd Starnes Show” on Thursday that his state has been able to avoid the destruction seen in other states by holding those who broke the law accountable.
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Cities across the U.S. have experienced violent protests after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Democrat mayors from cities like Portland, Seattle and New York have become cautionary tales on how not to handle the crisis.
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“We respect laws in this nation and we have to, and when people break the law, there has to be consequences for that,” Lee said.
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Todd Starnes, the host of the radio program, played a portion of Vice President Mike Pence’s speech during the Republican National Convention where he pointed out that Joe Biden and Democrats seem intent on ignoring violence in city streets prior to the 2020 election.
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“The violence must stop,” Pence said. “Whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha. Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down. We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.”
Starnes told Lee that Tennessee is “playing hardball” when it comes to these protests, and because of that, the state has not suffered the damage and destruction that others have absorbed.
He said that the state was not completely unscathed. He said violent protests resulted in a courthouse being burned, taxpayer-funded monuments being torn down and storefronts having their windows bashed in and looted.
“We saw lawlessness,” he said. “And we can’t tolerate lawlessness or it perpetuates and it accelerates if you tolerate it.”
He told Starnes that the state had protests that saw thousands of peaceful participants who exercised their First Amendment rights, which he also said is a foundational principle in the U.S.
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Lee said it is possible to provide citizens the opportunity to engage in those rights while ensuring safety in the community.
The governor will be attending President Trump’s speech tonight at the RNC. He said he believes Trump simply needs to connect with viewers tonight on an emotional level.
He said Trump has the ability to connect with Americans on a deeply personal level and when he shows his love for the country and his genuine belief that this is a great country that can become even greater, that is Trump’s winning combination.