Lt. Gov. Randy McNally is one of the top lawmakers in deep-red Tennessee and has joined the anti-LGBTQ+ wave sweeping the Republican Party.
With McNally as the head of the state senate, Tennessee passed bills earlier this year banning transgender children from receiving gender-affirming care and outlawing drag performances from many public spaces.
However, the politician's social media activity appears to be a lot more encouraging towards members of the LGBTQ community.
McNally Caught Liking, Leaving Heart, Flame Emojis on Raunchy Photos
As reported by The Tennessee Holler, McNally openly left heart and flame emojis as well as compliments on pictures shared on the Instagram page of a Knoxville-based young gay male named Franklyn McClur using his official Instagram account.
The images included one of McClur entirely nude, only narrowly avoiding showing his penis. In another, McNally responded to a picture of McClur wearing skimpy underwear with heart emojis, adding "love it."
McNally, who also lives in Knoxville, appears to know McClur, even referring to him as "Finn" in one comment. "Finn, you can turn rainy days into rainbows and sunshine!" McNally wrote on a close-up photo of McClur's buttocks.
McClur confirmed to the The Tennessee Holler that it was, in fact, McNally, who was commenting on his pics and has been doing for years.
Franklyn told the outlet he always found it a bit random that the Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee was commenting on his page, but since he's not a political person he didn't make the connection that McNally was simultaneously helping to spearhead a deeply anti-LGBTQ legislature.
McNally Responds, Says He's a 'Prolific Social Media Commenter'
In a statement, McNally's spokesman Adam Kleinheider insisted that McNally is just a "prolific social media commenter" who has "no intention of stopping" his posts.
"Trying to imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great-grandfather's use of social media says more about the mind of the left-wing operative making the implication than it does about Randy McNally," the statement read. "As anyone in Tennessee politics knows, Lt. Governor McNally is a prolific social media commenter. He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers. Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping."
McNally's "prolific commenting" is in the news days after images of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appearing to wear drag in photos from his high school yearbook went viral, as previously reported.