Rep. Madison Cawthorn defended having the worst voting record among freshman members of Congress by saying he was happy to be on his honeymoon when the House considered several bills without him.
“I was doing the only thing that I find more important than my service here in Congress, and that was my service as a husband,” Mr. Cawthorn, 25, said on the Real America’s Voice network Thursday.
Mr. Cawthorn missed roughly one in every six votes held in the House this session, Axios reported earlier this week, igniting criticism the North Carolina Republican later addressed in the interview.
“I just got married about seven weeks ago, and so my wife and I went on our honeymoon,” Mr. Cawthorn continued. “But during that time I missed 15 votes in one week because that’s when they had the votes pile up. And I’ll tell you, every single vote that came up, it was some Democrat garbage, so I was happy to be able to not have to actually vote on those.”
Mr. Cawthorn married Cristina Bayardelle in late December in a civil ceremony, and the couple held a religious ceremony a few months later on April 3, the congressman’s office previously told reporters.
The newlyweds went on their honeymoon after the more recent ceremony, resulting in Mr. Cawthorn missing House votes occurring between April 13 and 16, he spokesperson told Axios this week.
Ms. Bayardelle shared photos on the social media service Instagram during the second week of April that showed the couple vacationing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In one of the photos, tagged as being taken at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on Earth, the couple is seen posing with the Dubai skyline behind them. Another shows them sitting in a helicopter.
Mr. Hawthorne missed 21 votes during those four days, according to a tally kept by the nonprofit journalism group ProPublica, including several on bills supported or sponsored by fellow Republicans.
For example, on April 15, the House overwhelmingly voted 408-10 in favor of passing the Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act introduced by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Oklahoma Republican.
Dozens of Republicans joined Democrats the following day to pass the bipartisan-sponsored Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act without Mr. Hawthorne, meanwhile.
No votes were scheduled in the House the week prior to Mr. Cawthorn‘s honeymoon.