NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – Tennessee Lt. gov. Randy McNally apologized in an exclusive interview Thursday after the uproar over his interactions with provocative posts on social media, while insisting his intentions had been misconstrued.
“I’m really, really sorry if I embarrassed my family, my friends, or any member of the Legislature with the posts,” McNally said News Channel 5 determined. “That was not my intention [embarrass them] and not my intention to hurt her.”
The 79-year-old Republican from East Tennessee — who presided over a legislature marked by bills banning drag shows in public places and targeting gender welfare for the trans community — looked to a progressive website, the Tennessee Holler , faced with accusations of hypocrisy. discovered his social media interactions with a 20-year-old gay model.
Among them: provocative Instagram posts that McNally liked from his official account, including one in which the young man appears to be wearing no clothes.
NewsChannel 5 determined McNally asked, “If people see these posts, what should they take away from them?”
“Well,” he replied, “I don’t know that they should take away a whole lot.”
Tennessee Lt. gov. Randy McNally answers Phil Williams’ questions
In the interview, McNally described how he became friends with the young man, first on Facebook, then on Instagram.
Among the posts: a closeup of the young man’s butt covered in underwear.
McNally responded with three red hearts and three “on-fire” emojis, along with the comment, “Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine.”
The Lieutenant Governor’s statement?
Lt. Governor Randy McNally
“It’s like I try to encourage people with posts and I try to help them out when I can,” McNally said.
We asked, “Have you tried to help this young man in any way?”
McNally’s explanation: “Basically just trying to encourage him.”
There was a post in which the young man described himself as “not a whore” but a “hoe”.
“One is a SLUT and the other is a PROSTITUTE,” the post read.
He added, “I’m the one who gets weed for free for blowing,” a reference to oral sex.
Posted by Tennessee Lt. gov. Randy McNally liked
NewsChannel 5 determined remarked, “And it was liked by Lt. Gov. McNally.”
“Yes,” confirmed McNally. “I don’t know, a lot of times in some people’s posts you see their name and you see what they wrote and you just hit the button that says ‘Like’.”
We hit, “So you didn’t read this post?”
“I don’t remember reading the weed part, I know that,” McNally replied.
What about the part about the man being a “prostitute”?
“I may have read that,” the Lieutenant Governor replied.
In this case, was it appropriate to like the comment?
McNally paused, “Probably not, probably not.”
Then we came to a moment in our interview that couldn’t be avoided.
NewsChannel 5 determined continued, “I have to ask you the question that people on social media are suggesting: Have you ever had a personal relationship with this young man?”
“No,” McNally insisted.
“You never met him in person?”
Tennessee Lt. gov. Randy McNally Interview
In fact, we found other LGBTQ-related posts to please the Tennessee Lieutenant Governor, who says he’s met members of that community — including some from his own family — and is trying to do more to validate their identities.
McNally also noted that he has sometimes spoken out against some anti-LGBT legislation being pushed by his fellow Republicans.
We wanted to know, “Is this affecting your ability to lead?”
“I hope not,” the lieutenant governor said, “and I’ve had some of my peers say they’re supportive — both Republicans and Democrats.”
Ultimately, the Tennessee Senate elects the Senate Speaker, who serves as the lieutenant governor, a title that senators can also take.
NewsChannel 5 determined asked: “Have you thought about resigning?”
His response: “I think that’s really up to the members of the Senate. I would serve as they please, and they are my boss.”
There’s no doubt that McNally is extremely active on social media, often making positive comments about people’s families, latest achievements, and birthdays and anniversaries.
He says if there’s a lesson for him, he needs to be a lot more careful about what he posts and how it might be perceived.