Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina will attend Joe Biden’s inauguration after spending weeks questioning his legitimacy as president-elect. (Getty Images)
The largest paper in North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer, has called Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn an “embarrassment” in an editorial.
“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 paper’s editorial board wrote, adding that he has been “an embarrassment to the institution, to his party, and to his state”.
The paper slammed Mr Cawthorn for allegedly helping to incite the Capitol riot on 6 January with a speech “that lied about election fraud and stoked anger,” and then saying that President’s Trump’s lies about the election helped stoke the insurrectionist flames “while claiming his own, similar election lies, weren’t a factor”.
While acknowledging that Mr Cawthorn was not the only one who backtracked, the paper blasted him for being the only lawmaker who called for unity but also “sold ‘Cry more, lib’ T-shirts on his website”.
The paper said that his claims that he was a “legitimate candidate” for the Paralympics were “an insult to the Paralympic athletes who invest their time and effort to compete at an elite level”.
The editorial also criticised Mr Cawthorn for building his staff around communications “rather than legislation,” writing that it might have “interested his constituents before they voted to send him to Congress”.
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Going on to say that Mr Cawthorn has a “volatile relationship with the truth,” the editorial excoriated the freshman congressman for a CNN interview in which he appeared to not be aware of a change in North Carolina election law. Mr Cawthorn said “states subverted the US Constitution in changing election rules,” while not acknowledging that his own state had done the same. “Either Cawthorn inexplicably doesn’t know what’s going on his home state, or he lied,” the paper wrote.
Criticising him for doing more and more interviews despite being a “North Carolina embarrassment,” The Charlotte Observer said Mr Cawthorn only brought additional “head-shaking headlines and national ridicule,” to his state.
“It’s why the North Carolina freshman is on the medal stand for worst new member of Congress,” the paper thundered and added that it’s “difficult to feel sorry for GOP leaders,” arguing that Mr Cawthorn was a “creation of their making, a product of legislative gerrymandering,” coordinated by state Republicans after winning the North Carolina state house and state senate in 2010.
“Those maps resulted in some of the most gerrymandered districts in history, and even after courts intervened for fairer maps, a Republican is still all but assured to win” in Mr Cawthorn’s district. North Carolina’s eleventh district covers the westernmost part of the state, including Asheville and parts of the Smoky Mountains along the border to Tennessee.
The editorial argued that gerrymandered districts push out “moderates who thoughtfully consider the centre,” leading to “awful candidates and elected officials”.
“As lawmakers embark on a new round of map-drawing in 2021, they should keep Cawthorn in mind,” the paper wrote.
“It might be nice to get easy election wins, but it’s not good for your party or the people you’re supposed to serve.”
A spokesperson for Mr Cawthorn did not immediately respond to a request from The Independent for comment.
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Originally published February 1, 2021, 5:41 PM