Former radio talk show host Steve Gill, an elected Cruz delegate, and State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), an elected Trump delegate, tell Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon that along with former State Rep Joe Carr, a Cruz delegate, they are inviting their 49 fellow Trump and Cruz delegates in Tennessee to meet later this month to fend off the GOP establishment’s efforts to “broker” the party’s convention and hand the nomination to someone other than Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Beavers was elected as an at-large delegate committed to Trump and received more votes than any other Trump delegate in the state’s March 1 primary. Carr and Gill finished in first and second place, respectively, in votes cast for Cruz delegates elected at-large across the state in that primary.
“I think this is truly grassroots. That’s what’s so interesting about this. When I started talking to Joe Carr, who’s a Cruz delegate, and Senator Mae Beavers, who’s a Trump delegate, and other Trump and Cruz delegates, we all were kind of having the same thought at the same time,” Gill told Bannon.
“There’s a lot of this vitriol, a lot of bitterness and battle between the Trump folks and the Cruz folks right now. But as we look through the delegate list in Tennessee, we realize that back when we stopped the state income tax in Tennessee [in 1999 and 2000], when people circled our capital and honked their horns, we were “horn-honkers” before [we] were Tea Partiers and now we’re on opposite sides of this particular political battle,” Gill noted.
“But we’ve worked together fighting the establishment, fighting both the Democrats and the RINO Republicans for a long time, and it occurred to everybody simultaneously that it makes no sense for us to get to the finals, as we’re in March Madness [of the NCAA Basketball Tournament], to be the final two teams, and then have somebody that didn’t even make the Sweet Sixteen come in and try to grab the MVP trophy after the tournament game is over,” Gill said.
“I think Trump will get the number of delegates that he needs,” Beavers told Bannon. “But we want to make sure that when we go to the convenention there’s not a brokered convention.”
“We don’t want it taken away from whoever has earned the vote. I think it makes a lot of sense for the Cruz and the Trump people, the leaders, to get together and say we’re not going to let this happen. We’re not going to let them change the rules on us and put someone in that hasn’t worked for the position,” Beavers told Bannon on Breitbart Radio Saturday, heard on the Patriot Channel 125 of the Sirius/XM Radio Network.
As Breitbart News reported previously, Beavers, Gill, and former State Rep. Joe Carr, a Cruz delegate who narrowly lost to incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in the 2014 Republican U.S. Senate primary, met on Friday to prepare the agenda for the larger meeting, which will be held before the end of March.
“This story has caught fire on Breitbart, and people are talking about it all over,” Bannon noted.
“Some people in the Cruz and Trump boats are saying ‘well you’re selling out our campaign to the other guy,’ and that’s the furthest thing from what’s happening,” Gill added.
“We’re going to keep fighting for Cruz. They’re going to keep fighting for Trump. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be one of these two folks who actually get to the convention with the most, if not the right, number of delegates, and then, we’re not going to let somebody who’s sat on the sidelines come in and circumvent the process,” Gill added.
State Senator Beavers confirmed Gill’s statement that the Trump and Cruz delegates in Tennessee have worked well together for many years.
“Steve Gill [a Cruz delegate] and I fought the state income tax together in Tennessee [in 1999 and 2000] when he was a radio talk show host here,” Beavers said.
“I’ve known him for a long time. I trust him,” she added.
“I’ve know Joe [Carr] for a long time, served in the state legislature with him. I know a lot of the other Cruz delegates,” she noted.
“Knowing each other, knowing what could be ahead at the convention, it was easy for us to get together and talk and maybe come up with a plan to fight the establishment,” Beavers added.
“We think this [story] is going to spread like wild fire,” Bannon said.
“We think the folks in Tennessee have shown tremendous leadership. These people have worked together for a long time. This is not their first rodeo,” Bannon said.
“It is a good thing for what we call the Cruzbots and the Trumpbots to be fighting it out right now. There’s still a lot of fight left. There should be a lot of fight. Even some hard words are fine,” Bannon added.
“That will all get worked out in the process,” Bannon added.
“These delegates…State Senator Mae Beavers, a Trump delegate, and Steve Gill and Joe Carr, two of the 16 Cruz delegates, these are really great people. These are the kind of people the founders had in mind when they were talking about our representative democracy,” Breitbart senior correspondent Michael P. Leahy, who broke the story of the Cruz-Trump delegate alliance in Tennessee on Friday, told Bannon on the same program.
“It’s very important to point out that Cruz and Trump delegates here in Tennesse know, like, and respect each other,” Leahy added.
“I have great confidence in the wisdom and judgment of these delegates here in Tennessee,” he said.
Asked if this kind of Cruz-Trump delegate alliance is likely to spread to other states, Leahy answered in the affirmative.
“I’ve already talked to delegates in other states…and I’m not ready to break the full story yet…this is going on in Alabama as well,” he said.
“It’s not just Alabama. I’ve seen reports that in Texas and Missouri and Nevada people [delegates] are doing the same thing,” Leahy added.
Leahy pointed out that efforts by Washington insiders, such as the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, to create a brokered convention are unlikely to be effective in the end, because Kristol and others like him lack the legal authority to vote at the convention.
“Bill Kristol, by the way, doesn’t have a vote at the convention. He may not realize that. But he doesn’t matter. It’s the delegates that matter,” Leahy added.
“These [brokered convention proponent] guys are soft, the Bill Kristols in Washington, the David Brooks in New York. They’re soft. They’ve never had any battles. They’ve been pampered. All they do is sit and pontificate. They don’t know what’s going on in the real world,” Leahy said.
“These delegates [in Tennessee] are tough, and they will not be pushed around…They’re not going to bend to the will of Bill Kristol, I’ll tell you that right now,” Leahy concluded.