U.S. Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), a freshman and Congress’ youngest member, said this week that Washington leaders he respected did cocaine in front of him and invited him to attend a sexual get-together.
Cawthorn, who came under fire from both parties for controversial statements, was being interviewed for a podcast called Warrior Poet Society when he made the explosive claims. The revelations came when he was asked about the Netflix series House of Cards. The show, which aired for six seasons through 2018, portrayed Washington as a cesspool of corruption, power, money and perversion.
The representative from western North Carolina, who is 26, responded that he was approached by a political leader about a “get together at one of our houses” for sexual activities. Cawthorn recounted another legislator, who he described as someone at the forefront of fighting against drug addiction, did a “bump of cocaine” right in front of him.
Cawthorn expressed shock at the invitation and open drug use, telling the interviewer that he has always followed politics and admired some of these people his entire life. The representative also noted the ages of the people he referred to as averaging “60 or 70.”
A Raleigh TV station recently aired a video of Cawthorn addressing a group of supporters in Asheville in which he denigrated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his country. “Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug,” Cawthorn told the audience before adding that the Ukrainian government is “incredibly corrupt” and “incredibly evil.”
Reaction to his comments was swift and condemnation came from both sides of the political aisle. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that 90% of Americans are with Ukraine in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. He added that any member of Congress who makes such statements is an “outlier.”
Two candidates running against Cawthorn in the North Carolina district’s Republican primary also slammed the remarks. Cawthorn tried to clarify his views after the backlash, saying he was praying for Ukraine but adding that its leaders should not push “misinformation” on the U.S.
Cawthorn, who went on to describe working in the nation’s capital as the “worst job in the world,” may be free of that burden before long. Most pundits assume the congressman, not known for building relationships across the aisle, was likely accusing fellow Republicans of the illicit behavior.