In fact, House GOP leader Gerald McCormick not only doesn't think Todd ought to resign his office but he has just told reporters he hopes Todd keeps his State and Local Government Committee chairmanship. In the absence of House Speaker Beth Harwell, who's conveniently on an airplane taking her daughter to visit a college in Montana, McCormick was forced to talk to the media outside Harwell's office. At the end of the brief avail, he took a potshot at Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester for having the audacity to suggest that Todd should face "severe consequences" for his actions.
"All of us face challenges and make mistakes in our lives," McCormick said. "My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Todd and his family right now."
Here's the video and the transcript:
McCormick: All of us face challenges and make mistakes in our lives. My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Todd and his family right now. On a personal note, I only hope that he takes the necessary steps to address this issue. Having said that, I have read basically what you all have written and don't know much more than that. Don't really have anything to add at this moment. I'd be glad to try to answer a few questions if you all have some. But again, I've read what you reported on this and that's basically what I know.
Q: Has anyone spoken to him since this happened?
McCormick: Yes, I spoke with Rep. Todd this morning, and we had a brief personal conversation. We did not get into the details of what happened.
Q: You say he should take necessary steps. What sort of necessary steps?
McCormick: If there is a problem on a personal level, he needs to deal with it on a personal level. That's all I mean by that.
Q: Is he going to keep his chairmanship?
McCormick: Well, I think it's too early to really know if he's going to keep his chairmanship. He's done a good job, and I certainly hope so. We're not going to make any rash decisions until we have a detailed conversation with him and also with the speaker of the House who actually makes those appointments. She is actually on an airplane today going to Montana to look at a college with her daughter and is unavailable right now, but when she gets back, I'm certain we'll have some meetings on this and make some decisions.
Q: Do you anticipate that Rep. Todd will run for reelection next year?
McCormick: I just really don't know. I have not talked to him about that and don't know how to answer that.
Q: Would this prevent that?
McCormick: Until we really know what happened, I'd be hesitant to say.
Q: Where had he been drinking?
McCormick: I honestly don't know the answer to that. Don't know where he had been last night. I think the police report that I saw on the AP story said he'd had two drinks and that's really all I know.
Q: He was carrying a loaded handgun in his car at the time and, if he had been drinking, that's something he said people didn't do when they had handgun carry permits during the whole guns-in-bars conversation. What do you think about that?
McCormick: Yeah, well, I think it's a bad idea to drink and carry a gun, obviously. Now I don't know the details of what happened with Rep. Todd last night, but I think he would agree with me, and I know he would agree with me, that people who are drinking should not have loaded handguns with them.
Q: If we can't trust the sponsor of this law to follow it, then how can we trust all the rest of the handgun carry permit holders to follow it?
McCormick: ... Until we find out all the details, I'd be hesitant to answer that.
Q: Can you say what you talked about with Rep. Todd?
McCormick: It was just a personal conversation that I had with Rep. Todd this morning to call him and tell him I was praying for him and being supportive of him on a personal basis. That's all there is to it. Besides that again, all I know is what I've read, and I think most of you wrote what I've read. So if you don't have anything else, that'll be it for now. Hopefully, later today, maybe we'll have some more information. Certainly, when the speaker gets back in town, I know she'll have some information for us.
Q: The chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party was quoted as saying there ought to be severe consequences, I guess, if he's found guilty. Any thoughts on that?
McCormick: I don't know, maybe the Democratic Party chairman ought to read the U.S. Constitution before he executes someone for something they haven't been convicted of yet. That would be my suggestion. I better get out of here before I get mad at the Democratic Party chairman.