A Donald Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention from East Tennessee was also a delegate to a “Continental Congress of 2009” that advocated replacing the Department of Homeland Security with citizen militias and recently advocated the killing of U.S. leaders who violate the Constitution, according to Richard Locker.
The Trump campaign approved M. David Riden of rural McMinn County as one of its delegates. Voters in East Tennessee’s Third Congressional District elected him as a Trump-committed delegate and his wife Perry Riden as an alternate, in the state’s March 1 Republican presidential primary.
Gov. Bill Haslam will be a Marco Rubio delegate at the convention, although Rubio withdrew after the Tennessee primary. Asked to comment on Riden’s views, Haslam’s press secretary, David Smith, would only say, “The governor has a strict policy against elected officials being assassinated.”
Riden’s views attracted the interest of the national liberal magazine Mother Jones, which published an article on its website Thursday linking him to the murky world of far-right militias and “patriot” groups. (Note: It’s HERE.) Riden did not return repeated calls and emails from the News Sentinel for comment, but the Mother Jones article reported that he discussed his views in an interview with the magazine.
The article quotes Riden as saying that U.S. leaders who violate the Constitution may have to be done away with: “The polite word is ‘eliminated.’ The harsh word is ‘killed,'” Riden reportedly told Mother Jones. And he said all three branches of the federal government are “way off from the Constitution right now.”
Tennessee Republican leaders appeared to be distancing themselves from the delegate they’ll be sitting with on the floor of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena next month.
“If true, those views are not reflective in any way of the Tennessee Republican Party. We advocate for reforms by electing smart, principled conservatives and our record proves that. We would refer you to the Trump campaign for any additional information regarding individuals serving as their delegates,” TNGOP Chairman Ryan Haynes of Knoxville said in a statement.
Note: Another quote from the Mother Jones article:
Riden said his wife, Perry Riden, who is an alternate Trump delegate from Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District, also thinks Obama is dangerous. “My wife looks at me and says, ‘Remember, he is one of them.’ Meaning he is a Muslim, he is on the side of the terrorists, he will…let Iran have nuclear weapons, which would destroy Israel and the United States, because his way of thinking is right in line with Iran, North Korea, and Russia.”