In the 5:50 a.m. segment of The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Thursday, host Michael Patrick Leahy called on his friend Matt Boyle to correct a major factual error in his Breitbart article published Wednesday about the Tennessee Republican Party’s disqualification of carpetbaggers Morgan Ortagus and Robby Starbuck, as well as Tennessean Baxter Lee, from the TN-5 GOP primary ballot.

Here is the transcript:

We’ll be joined in the 6 o’clock hour by Clint Brewer. We’re going to go into more detail with him about this smear of the Tennessee Republican Party that was published at Breitbart Wednesday and written by Matt Boyle, titled “Party Bylaws Did Not Disqualify Trump-Backed Pick for Nashville District.”

It is filled with inaccuracies and falsehoods, and we’ll go through some of those right now.

The headline of this story is false. “Party bylaws did not disqualify Trump-backed pick for national district, despite Tennessee GOP chairman’s claims.”

Well, that’s not true.

I wrote an extensive, 4,400-word article on Sunday which went point by point to explain why the actions of the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee, the subcommittee that had the authority under the bylaws to review the Tennessee Republican bona fides of candidates for all offices, and particularly this particular one in Tennessee 5 why that was done in accordance with bylaws.

And there are a number of false statements and inaccurate statements here made in this article by my friend Matt Boyle, and we will actually call him to account on this.

Matt, you’ve got to fix this article.

And there’s a number of retractions that you’re probably going to need to make on this.

First, in terms of a point of fact, big error in the article, he calls the state executive committee members unelected.

Well, that’s factually untrue.

State executive committee members of the Tennessee Republican Party, there are 66 of them, two from each of the 33 state Senate districts. They are elected, they were elected in the GOP primary back in August of 2018 to four-year terms. I think they collectively got well over 200,000 votes.

So they’re all elected – number one.

So that is a significant error.

But in terms of the smear, there is nothing worse than falsely charging somebody with antisemitism.

And that’s exactly what Boyle did here without any evidence.

And it is extraordinarily deceitful and dishonest.

And it is something that does require a full retraction by Matthew Boyle.

And I think that’s quite clear.

So what he says in the article is that, let me get to the exact quote of it, and it’s very disturbing, and it’s an assertion with no evidence, either deliberately or because he didn’t do his research. He conflated the new three-year residency law sponsored by State Senator Frank Niceley with the Tennessee Republican Party’s disqualification process.

And in doing so, he accused the Tennessee Republican Party and by extension, the SEC members of this committee, 17 members, of being antisemitic.

Here’s what he said: “One extra thing that has become clear in the ensuing days since last week’s action is that at least some of the people driving this process were motivated by genuine antisemitism.”

Now, the process we’re talking about here is the process of disqualifying the two carpetbaggers in the Tennessee in accordance with the bylaws.

And we’ll get to that in a bit.

Now, that disqualification was entirely within the bylaws. But I know the 17 members of this group that did this. According to the bylaws, the chairman and every state executive committee member that has a part of the 5th Congressional District in the area they were elected to represent was on the committee that had the authority to review the standards, whether or not the candidates met them, after they’ve been challenged.

The Tennessee Republican bona fide standards are set forth in the bylaws, and those 17 members are fantastic people. They’re good people. I know at least half of them personally.

The majority of them were Trump delegates. There’s not an ounce of antisemitism in any of them.

And yet this false claim is made in the article that “at least some of the people driving this process were motivated by genuine antisemitism.” This is a charge made without any evidence whatsoever. It’s a serious charge and it is unfairly disparaging, and I will say defaming, not only to the Tennessee Republican Party but also to the State Executive Committee, all 66 members and the 17 members of this committee that voted 13 to 3 (because the chairman, Scott Golden was only there for a tiebreaker), they voted 13 to 3 that Morgan Ortagus and Robby Starbuck did not meet the standards of a bona fide Tennessee Republican.

Those standards spelled out for a Tennessee bona fide Republican in the bylaws themselves, that’s the standard needed to be a candidate for public office.

And so I think in this particular instance a retraction of this false smear published by Breitbart and written by Matt Boyle against duly elected members of the state executive committee is appropriate …

We’ll talk in more detail about this in the 6 o’clock hour with Clint Brewer.


Within hours, Breitbart News acknowledged that the original version contained a significant factual error, as Leahy explained in the 5:50 a.m. segment of his program.

The claim SEC members were not elected was removed, and this update was added to the Breitbart article shortly after 7 am:

UPDATE: This piece has been updated to note that the voters in Tennessee do elect members of the Tennessee GOP SEC in August primaries,” the article now reads, with a one paragraph added that describes the process by which State Executive Committee members are elected.

Despite this timely correction in the Breitbart article acknowledging that members of the SEC are, in fact, elected by Republican voters, several additional errors remain in the article, including the false claim made by Boyle that,”One extra thing that has become clear in the ensuing days since last week’s action is that at least some of the people driving this process were motivated by genuine antisemitism.”