Sethi said, “I believe like what (former U.S. Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice said: ‘When we try to erase history, we are doomed to try to repeat it.’ If people start erasing things they are uncomfortable with, where does that leave us? I frankly don’t think this is about statues any more. People are tearing down statues of Lincoln and Jefferson. I think this is about a group of people who hate this country. We can’t let them do this. Folks are trying to rip us apart. America is the greatest nation on Earth because we come together.”
In opening his Tri-Cities office, Sethi noted, “Honestly, I’ve been up here so many times in the last 18 months in East Tennessee and the Tri-Cities that so many of you have become my family ... and it means so much to me.”
Sethi, a Nashville trauma surgeon, is in a crowded field competing in the August GOP primary to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.
“We have built the strongest, aggressive grassroots operation in the political history of Tennessee with (former Tennessee Republican Party Chair) Chris Devaney at the helm,” Sethi insisted.
Sethi addressed these questions:
What does the campaign office do?
“It’s a central point of access for our grassroots operation, specifically in the Tri-Cities and Northeast Tennessee. It’s built on the power of local communities. Out of this office, we will be doing a lot of phone banking. People can come here to get their signs and get T-shirts and learn more about who we are.”
How is COVID-19 going to impact this election?
“Right now across our state, we are seeing our numbers go up. A lot of that is concentrated in places like Memphis and Nashville. I think it remains to be seen how it’s going to influence the election. No matter what, I do not think this country can shut down again economically. I think we have to stay open. We’ve got to get through this. We’ve got to get vertical containment — that is, protect people at risk. I don’t know how it will affect (voter) turnout. The one thing I know is people want a conservative Christian outsider.”
The Democrats seem to think the Republican nominee will be Bill Hagerty. What’s your response?
“I think the ambassador (Hagerty is a former U.S. ambassador to Japan) is a nice man. He is a family man, but the bottom line is he’s a Washington insider. He was Mitt Romney’s finance chairman and Jeb Bush’s presidential delegate. He’s a moderate and people don’t want that.”
Early voting starts on July 17.