Major North Carolina Newspaper Excoriates Madison Cawthorn And His Lies

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The Charlotte Observer editorial board described Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) as a “Republican creation and North Carolina embarrassment” this week, before pleading that he be kept away from the cameras and listing several of his many lies.

“Can someone please keep Madison Cawthorn away from the cameras? And the microphones? And really, most situations in which he publicly tries to turn words into meaningful thoughts?” the editorial board wrote on Thursday. “The first-term, District 11 U.S. House member has been an embarrassment to the institution, to his party, and to his state.”

The board went on to list some of those embarrassments, writing that Cawthorn:

▪ Helped incite the U.S. Capitol invasion with a Jan. 6 speech that lied about election fraud and stoked anger, then less than 24 hours later said the president’s election falsehoods played a role in the riot while claiming his own, similar election lies weren’t a factor. Cawthorn wasn’t alone in that kind of whiplash-inducing pivot, but he was the only lawmaker calling for unity after Jan. 6 who also sold “Cry more, lib” T-shirts on his web site. (He later removed the listing.)

▪ Faced questions about claims that he was a legitimate candidate for the 2020 Paralympic Games. Cawthorn has suggested so more than once, including telling a Christian podcast host that “I had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field.” This is not accurate, as The Nation reported, and it’s an insult to the Paralympic athletes who invest their time and effort to compete at an elite level.

▪ Typed this actual sentence in a Jan. 19 email to Republican colleagues obtained by TIME: “I have built my staff around comms rather than legislation.” That commitment to messaging, rather than understanding and participating in legislating, might have been something that interested his constituents before they voted to send him to Congress.

The editorial board also noted that Cawthorn has been called out on his claim that he was a candidate for the 2020 Paralympic Games — something the freshman lawmaker has suggested on more than one occasion.

Cawthorn told a Christian podcast host that “I had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field,” according to the editorial. However, the board wrote: “This is not accurate, as The Nation reported, and it’s an insult to the Paralympic athletes who invest their time and effort to compete at an elite level.”

In yet another embarrassing incident the editorial board recalled, Cawthorn wrote in an email to Republican colleagues earlier this month, “I have built my staff around comms rather than legislation.”

That commitment to messaging, rather than understanding and participating in legislating, might have been something that interested his constituents before they voted to send him to Congress.

These examples and more are “why at least one prominent supporter has expressed regret, and why Republicans are surely not looking forward to two years of cringing,” the board wrote.

It’s difficult to feel sorry for GOP leaders, however, including those in North Carolina. Cawthorn is a creation of their making, a product of legislative gerrymandering his state’s Republicans engaged after their 2010 victory in the N.C. House and Senate.

Read the full editorial.

Image credit: Screengrab / FOX Carolina News / YouTube

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