- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2022

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who is beset by criticism from fellow GOP lawmakers after making wild allegations about orgies and cocaine use, is blaming the far left for his political woes.

In a new campaign ad, Mr. Cawthorn says he is being attacked by the “leftwing establishment” and vows that he “is not going anywhere.”

Mr. Cawthorn, a freshman GOP congressman from North Carolina, tweeted the ad Thursday amid widespread friction with fellow Republicans after he claimed to have witnessed Capitol Hill orgies and cocaine-fueled parties.

Mr. Cawthorn wrote in the tweet: “The radical left, the establishment, and the media want to take me down. Their attacks have been relentless. I won’t stop fighting. I won’t bow to the mob. They want to silence the America First movement. I’m not going anywhere.”

His wild allegations about orgies and cocaine were roundly criticized by congressional Republicans this week and some began pledging to support a primary challenge to Mr. Cawthorn.

In his new ad, a montage of newspaper clippings about the 26-year-old conservative firebrand is accompanied by a voiceover: “The entire left-wing establishment is targeted Madison Cawthorn is public enemy number one. Their smears and attacks are relentless, and they’ve tried everything to take him down. But Madison Cawthorn could not be stopped, and that’s why they are terrified of him because he‘s effective.” 

“Despite all adversity, Madison Cawthorn continues to stand up and fight to represent the people of North Carolina in the D.C. swamp. He is our champion for faith, family and freedom and will never stop putting America first,” the ad concludes.

A day earlier, Mr. Cawthorn was called in for a meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican. Afterward, Mr. McCarthy condemned Mr. Cawthorn’s allegations and accused him of changing his story when they met face to face.

Mr. Cawthorn did not vote in person on Thursday but by proxy during the first series of votes. He angered fellow Republicans earlier this week when he made the wild remarks on the “Warrior Poet Society” podcast interview when asked if Washington was like the Netflix drama “House of Cards.”

“I look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life, I’ve always paid attention to politics,” Mr. Cawthorn said on the podcast. “Then 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.’”

“I’m like, ‘What did you just ask me to come to?’” Mr. Cawthorn said. “And then you realize they are asking you to come to an orgy.”

The orgies story followed a string of other embarrassing incidents for Mr. Cawthorn. He was caught driving on a revoked license, failed to show up for a court appearance and also called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “thug.”

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“I was just very clear with him,” Mr. McCarthy said after the closed-door meeting. “There’s a lot of different things that could happen, but I just told him he’s lost my trust, and he’s gonna have to earn it back.”

“He can’t just make statements out there. And you can’t, back them up with any evidence. That’s a problem,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina each pledged to endorse a primary opponent of Mr. Cawthorn‘s. Mr. Burr, who called Mr. Cawthorn “an embarrassment,” is endorsing state Sen. Chuck Edwards, while Mr. Tillis did not specify which of the seven primary challengers he plans to support.

“I expect more from a member in our congressional delegation,” Mr. Tillis told The Washington Times.

Other GOP lawmakers are willing to give Mr. Cawthorn the benefit of the doubt. 

He can be successful in this or he can be an asterisk in history,” said a GOP House member said privately, adding that lawmakers are “pissed” that Mr. Cawthorn presented them as “orgy cocaine-fueled persons.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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