Charlotte Observer Editorial Board: Madison Cawthorn Is ‘The Worst New Member of Congress’

Freshman Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who was elected to Congress with a fake backstory and egged on the domestic terrorists that laid siege to the United States Capitol on January 6th, was the subject of a scathing editorial in Thursday’s Charlotte Observer.

Photo Credit: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“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 first-term, District 11 U.S. House member has been an embarrassment to the institution, to his party,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.

In addition to facilitating a terrorist attack and lying about his past, the board notes four instances of head-scratchingly poor judgment and flagrant dishonesty that Cawthorn has displayed.

In just a few short weeks, Cawthorn has:

  • 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.
  • Struggled through an excruciating interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown in which he finally acknowledged Joe Biden’s legitimate victory yet continued to allege that states subverted the U.S. Constitution in changing election rules. That’s not true, and when Brown noted that election rules also were changed in North Carolina, Cawthorn said he wasn’t aware of those changes. Either Cawthorn inexplicably doesn’t know what’s going on in his home state, or he lied. (The latter is very possible given Cawthorn’s volatile relationship with the truth. During his campaign, he created the impression that he was headed to the U.S. Naval Academy before an accident left him partially paralyzed. The reality: Cawthorn was rejected by the Naval Academy before his accident).

And because he has kept making stupid comments and demonstrating his abject ignorance toward reality, resulting in “head-shaking headlines and national ridicule,” Cawthorn has earned a spot “on the medal stand for worst new member of Congress,” the board added.

The paper also said that the Republican Party deserves no sympathy because it cultivated the culture of insanity – which was exacerbated by heavily partisan redistricting- for which Cawthorn is a poster boy:

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. 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 NC-11.

The GOP, therefore, is probably stuck with Cawthorn for the foreseeable future:

As has happened in districts across the country, such gerrymandering squeezes out moderates who thoughtfully consider the center. That leads to awful candidates and elected officials, and as lawmakers embark on a new round of map drawing in 2021, they should keep Cawthorn in mind. 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.

It is what it is.

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