GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina is one of the youngest, most fiery and most conservative members of Congress. He’s a frequent target of the left and the right. He is also not, as Joel Osteen might put it, living his best life now.
In the latest incident that has muddied the waters around Cawthorn’s political future, a political action committee dedicated to getting the Republican booted from office released a compromising, undated video reportedly of him naked in bed on top of “a friend” making exaggerated motions and noises, according to the Charlotte News & Observer.
Cawthorn seemed to acknowledge the video was real in a tweet Wednesday night, saying he and his friend were “being crass … acting foolish, and joking,” adding: “Blackmail won’t win. We will.”
(The Western Journal has been chronicling Cawthorn’s fight for his political future, and we’ll continue to do so as events unfold. If you appreciate our news and analysis from a conservative Christian perspective, help us bring it to America by subscribing today.)
The video was posted Wednesday by American Muckrakers PAC — a group which has lodged numerous ethics complaints against the 26-year-old freshman congressman and used other tactics to attempt to discredit him.
The group, which operates under the name Fire Madison Cawthorn, posted the video on their website, FireMadison.com. PAC president David B. Wheeler said on the site that the video “was passed to us by a former supporter and big donor of Rep. Cawthorn that wishes to remain anonymous.”
“It pains us to post it but in the public and voters interest we chose to do so,” the group said on its website, according to CNBC.
It didn’t pain them enough, however, to put that warning right above an all-caps link which read: “WATCH THE VIDEO OF REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN MADISON CAWTHORN DRY HUMPING SOMEONE’S HEAD AND MOANING LOUDLY HERE.”
As of early Friday morning, the website was down; American Muckrakers PAC claimed in a tweet that it was the result of hackers and posted a PayPal link for potential donors.
“Hi @RepCawthorn – Our website was hacked but whomever did it left their fingerprints. Do you want to issue another video in advance or after we expose whom it is?” the group wrote.
Anyone that want to help us fire Madison Cawthorn can donate here temporarily: https://t.co/k9sHmW0Nid
— Fire Madison Cawthorn – American Muckrakers PAC (@fire_madison) May 6, 2022
In a tweet, Cawthorn seemed to vouch for the authenticity of the video.
“A new hit against me just dropped,” he wrote. Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish, and joking. That’s it.
“I’m NOT backing down,” he added. “I told you there would be a drip drip campaign. Blackmail won’t win. We will.”
A new hit against me just dropped.
Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny.
We were acting foolish, and joking.
I’m NOT backing down.
I told you there would be a drip drip campaign.
Blackmail won’t win. We will.
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) May 4, 2022
Although FireMadison.com’s website is down, the video can still be accessed through archived versions of the website. While Cawthorn won’t be sending it to potential donors anytime soon, the clip seems to confirm the incident was a very crass attempt at being funny with friends as opposed to anything prurient.
In the 30-second clip, seemingly filmed in a hotel room, a naked individual is in bed with another man and is making exaggerated noises. Others in the room laugh; at the 19-second mark, one of those laughing addresses the individual in bed as “Madison.”
Online, there was a flash mob that seemed to have a coordinated message about Cawthorn: They couldn’t care less about what he did in his free time, but this was about the fact he holds to a biblical definition of sex, marriage and gender:
I don’t care that Madison Cawthorn likes to wear lingerie in his free time. It doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t affect me. If he wants to be playful with gender expression, it’s his life.
I do care that Madison Cawthorn attacks trans people and shames us for living our lives.
— Charlotte Clymer ?️⚧️?? (@cmclymer) April 22, 2022
I don’t care if Madison Cawthorn fools around with the bros and films it. Or wears negligees. I want to live in a country where he has all of those freedoms.
But he doesn’t get to denounce gay and trans people living their authentic lives while exploring his own sexual freedom. pic.twitter.com/B0GdjmCu7r
— Matthew Wolff ?️??? (@MatthewWolfff) May 5, 2022
For the record, I couldn’t care less if Madison Cawthorn enjoys dressing in women’s lingerie or having sex with other guys. What pisses me off is his sanctimonious hypocrisy, and his outright animosity towards the LGBTQ community.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) May 5, 2022
Apparently, on left-bubble Twitter, it’s really easy to cut-and-paste the same asinine reasoning.
The problem for Cawthorn, however, isn’t hypocrisy on LGBT issues; anyone who watches the clip and thinks they’re watching a sex act is desperately wishing it proves more than it does. Instead, it’s that “drip drip campaign” Cawthorn referred to — and the fact there isn’t a shortage of drips, however blown out of proportion they may be.
Cawthorn has been controversial since he entered Congress in 2021, but his recent set of issues involving his character began in late March when he told a podcast he had been invited to orgies by legislators and seen colleagues sniff cocaine in front of him, according to the New York Post.
“The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington. I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70 — [you] 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,” he said. “Then all of a sudden you get invited: ‘We’re going to have a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.’ ‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy.”
When called in by GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, he said these claims were “exaggerated.” Cawthorn also issued a statement which seemed to disavow his remarks.
— Rep. Madison Cawthorn (@RepCawthorn) April 1, 2022
“In the interview, he claims he watched people do cocaine. Then when he comes in he tells me, he says he thinks he saw maybe a staffer in a parking garage from 100 yards away,” McCarthy said, according to Axios. “I just told him he’s lost my trust, he’s gonna have to earn it back, and I laid out everything I find is unbecoming.”
Then in April, Politico published leaked photos of Cawthorn in lingerie “in what appears to be a party setting.” They didn’t verify when or where the pictures were taken — a bit of an issue, considering Cawthorn has said they were part of a cruise ship game show. In a tweet, he linked to an article about the show, at least confirming its existence.
This is a big miss from POLITICO given Rep Cawthorn’s explanation and the article he linked to about the cruise ship game. They basically accuse him of being a hypocrite and a bad Christian. pic.twitter.com/ED2oBduX8x
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) April 22, 2022
I guess the left thinks goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress) is going to somehow hurt me?
They’re running out of things to throw at me…
Share your most embarrassing vacay pics in the replies?♂️https://t.co/YicRk0Albu
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) April 22, 2022
On a wider level, the left has attacked Cawthorn for his support of the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., that preceded the Capitol incursion.
While absolutely no link has been established between Cawthorn and the incursion itself, that hasn’t stopped his opponents from trying to get him disqualified from running again, attempting to invoke a clause in the 14th Amendment designed to disqualify Confederate officials who had previously taken an oath to the United States from running for U.S. office after the end of the Civil War.
So, in short, yes — there is a “drip drip” smear campaign against Cawthorn by his opponents, even if some of the wounds are self-inflicted. There have also been quite a few “drips” in recent weeks. Whether or not this is the drip that breaks the camel’s back remains to be seen.
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