[guest post by Dana]
Earlier this week, Rep. Madison Cawthorne made some pretty wild claims about his colleagues in office:
Cawthorn frustrated GOP colleagues after he appeared on the “Warrior Poet Society” podcast last week and said that racy elements of the Netflix television drama House of Cards are not far from reality.
“All of the sudden you get invited to, ‘Well hey, we’re going to have kind of a sexual get together at one of our homes, you should come’ … You realize they are asking you to come to an orgy,” Cawthorn said. He added that he has seen people who advocate against addiction doing “key bumps of cocaine.”
This wasn’t the only questionable thing Cawthorne has recently said or done:
Earlier this month, Cawthorn called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug,” which McCarthy had previously said was “wrong.” Cawthorn also likely broke House rules when he brought Tennessee Republican House candidate Robby Starbuck onto the House floor in February. And he was recently charged for driving with a revoked license, as well as for speeding in two different counties.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wasn’t having it. Yesterday he came down on the new representative, saying that:
…Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-N.C.) allegations of being invited to orgies and seeing people do cocaine were unfounded and that he would not rule out further disciplinary action for the 26-year-old freshman member.
“He’s got to turn himself around,” McCarthy told reporters, addressing a meeting he had with Cawthorn that morning…
McCarthy said Cawthorn gave him no evidence to back up that characterization. The explanation for the cocaine allegation was that “he thinks he saw maybe a staffer in the parking garage from 100 yards away.”
“This is unacceptable, there’s no evidence to this,” McCarthy said. “That’s not becoming of a congressman. He did not tell the truth.”
Asked if Cawthorn could face penalties from the House Republican conference such as being removed from his committee posts, McCarthy said that there are “a lot of different things that could happen.”
“He’s lost my trust, and he’s gonna have to earn it back,” McCarthy said. “You can’t just say, ‘You can’t do this again.’ I mean, he’s got — he’s got a lot of members very upset. He can’t just make statements.”
Of course he’s right that Cawthorn’s behavior is not becoming to a congressman. And certainly, the bogus claims cast fellow members in an ugly light. So good for McCarthy to call him out. Yet, what does it say about McCarthy and the Republican Party – especially as members and senators who have voiced complaint about Cawthorn’s smear yet any number of them defended Trump, who continues to do far worse than this chump? Certainly, Trump did not immediately receive the same level of excoriation from the collective Republican Party. And that continues to be a big problem. Even the Jan. 6 rioters didn’t even receive a Cawthorn-level of condemnation from a wide swath of the Republican Party. It speaks to the continuing misplaced priorities by Republicans who hypocritically do whatever is necessary to protect their own political futures no matter the cost. Essentially, a goober like Cawthorne makes outlandish claims and is publicly and correctly called on the carpet while Republican leadership has defended, ignored, and hesitated in saying anything to a far, far more powerful individual spreading an even more grotesque lie that besmirches the whole party. And a lie that actually threatens our democracy. Not a good look, Republicans, and certainly not the way to win back voters who left the party because of said lie. And I doubt Independents now sitting on the fence as the Biden honeymoon came to a screeching end, will be shopping the GOP. In other words, it’s still Trump’s party. When leadership and the party as a whole can publicly say about Trump and his Big Lie what McCarthy said about Cawthorn, that would indicate a solid step on road to redemption:
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