The fact that Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is now being slammed by the two GOP senators of his own state is borderline meaningless to me. They and the Republican Party were fine with him being a reprehensible, sick attack dog, calling for parents to let their sons grow up to be “monsters,” using religious fervor to try to demonize Democrats, promoting the Insurrection to overthrow the government and keep Trump in power, and on and on, and worse. But now that he’s made seedy accusations against the GOP, now they think he’s “an embarrassment.”
The story is that Cawthorn has made weird claims without anything to back them up about Republican lawmakers taking part in drug-fueled orgies.
On a podcast the other day, Cawthorn said that “The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington, I mean—being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70, and I look at all of these people, a lot of them I’ve looked up to through my life … then all of a sudden you get invited to, ‘Oh, hey, we’re going to have kind of a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come!’ And I’m like, ‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy.” (What likely upsets Republicans about this is that it’s clear if Madison Cawthorn was ever invited to a party in Washington, it would not ever be for Democrats. Just Republicans only. Which means that’s where the “orgy” would be.)
But Cawthorn was on a roll and went on to say he's even seen a fellow lawmaker do cocaine right in front of him -- and not just any congressman, but a major voice against drugs. Which, again, to Republican ears would likely be a Republican, since to them they that only Republicans are against drugs, not the heathen Democrats. “Some of the people that are leading on the movement to try to remove addiction in our country,” Cawthorn said, “then you watch them do a key bump of cocaine in front of you,” said before adding, “This is wild.”
(I have no doubt that some, if not many – and who knows, maybe even most – Republicans in Congress take drugs. That they are taking part in drug-fueled orgies is another matter. Especially since, as many on social media, and in the press and TV analysts have cried out…okay! So, name names! After all, this would be a big crime, and if he knows all about this drug orgies, and is outraged enough to talk about it, then surely he should report it to the police or Justice Department. Shockingly, he’s been silent and has nothing to offer. But then, that’s out dear Madison.
My sense is that he read something on a QAnon message or more likely (since they only seem to ever criticize Democrats) thought he’d come up with his own QAnon-style scandal that they’d love, but screwing up by making it about Republicans, for some reason.
As a result of his charges, Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took Cawthorn to task, and the two GOP senators from Cawthorn’s own state of North Carolina have come down on him, as well.
As McCarthy told Axios, “In the interview, he claims he watched people do cocaine. Then when he comes in he tells me, he says he thinks he saw maybe a staffer in a parking garage from 100 yards away. I just told him he’s lost my trust, he’s gonna have to earn it back, and I laid out everything I find is unbecoming,. And, you can’t just say, ‘You can’t do this again.’ I mean, he’s, he’s got a lot of members very upset."
Actually, McCarthy is being too coy for words here. Because when he says, "You can't do this again," what he probably means is that you can't tell him because you know he's going to do it again and again and again, because he does it all the time. It's just that it's always been about Democrats before.
Also, it's not clear from Cawthorn's subsequent statements whether or not he's backing off his statements. But then this is Madison Cawthorn. And this is Kevin McCarthy. So, y'know, whatever.
Nonetheless, one of the North Carolina senators from Cawthorn's own state, retiring Senator Richard Burr was blunt in his assessment, as well. When asked about Cawthorn by CNN, Burr replied that, “On any given day, he’s an embarrassment.”
Just to be clear, Madison Cawthorn was an embarrassment long before this story. And Richard Burr never even hiccupped about him. And “any given day” covers all those days of silence, as well. But it took Richard Burr until this story – where Cawthorn finally did something horribly offensive to Republicans – AND until he was himself retiring from the Senate, before Richard Burr took this “given day” to at last call him an “embarrassment.”
The other senator from the state, Thom Tillis (R-NC) is now backing the GOP primary challenger to Cawthorn, something CNN calls “an extraordinary broadside against a fellow Republican from his home state."
What I find extraordinary, though, is that it took this one incident before Tillis decided to not back such a reprehensible human creature. Everything else before this, no matter how despicable and insane it was, was okay with Richard Burr, as long as it was directed against President Biden and Democrats.
I have to admit, my favorite outraged comment came from Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who said in a closed-door meeting that many of his colleagues are in bed by 9 p.m. No, he did not define “many.” Nor did he add that they drank warm milk first.
That Cawthorn himself is already acknowledging that he might have been exaggerating a bit is not shocking. If he actually said, as Minority Leader McCarthy claims, that the respected congressman he saw directly in front of him was really just a staffer 100 yards away, that makes it all the more Cawthorn-ludicrous – something it must be noted again that Republicans were just fine with before this.
After all, Madison Cawthorn has a long history with lying – something Republicans have been just fine with…until now, when it was directed at them. Among such things:
He claimed he was going to attend the Naval Academy before he was paralyzed in a car crash. However, the Navy has since said they turned him down before the crash occurred. He also has said he was “declared dead” at the crash site – although the accident reports says he was “incapacitated.”
He also accused his primary opponent of being a “Never Trumper” from an edited audio clip. The full audio backs up the opponent’s claims to the contrary.
None of which, again, ever bothered Republicans. Before.
So, my heart breaks for how bad Republicans now feel about freshman congressman Madison Cawthorn being an “embarrassment” and not worthy of staying in Congress and finally needing to be reprimanded. But then, when you own a vicious, rabid attack dog who bites any of your neighbors when it sees them anywhere outside the house, you shouldn’t be embarrassed – or surprised – when it feels emboldened and crazed enough to spin and snarl and finally bite everyone in your own home.
SIDE NOTE: Though the title works on its own merits, and this explanation is one that no Chicagoan needs, for others State and Madison is a major intersection in the downtown Chicago Loop. where State Street ("that great street") and Madison Street cross. For that matter, if you look in the lower left corner of the map below, you’ll see a marker for "Sidley Austin LLP." That’s the law firm of Newton Minow, father of the oft-mentioned here Nell Minow. And where Barack Obama worked – and met Michelle Robinson. Yes, I know none of this has anything to do with Madison Cawthorn and the newly-embarrassed Republicans, but I couldn’t resist the title, and then felt an explanation was needed – and once there, why not add the fun details…
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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