As you’ve probably heard by now, western North Carolina’s deeply troubled congressman, Madison Cawthorn, is in the midst of another you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up moment, and somewhat amusingly, this time he’s actually finding himself in some lukewarm water with his enablers in the leadership of the Republican Party.
The source of this new flap was Cawthorn’s claim in an interview captured on video that some conservative GOP pols in Washington had invited him to orgies and talked openly to him of using cocaine — a claim that according to U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, Cawthorn has now admitted was a lie.
Of course, if this really was a lie (click here to see veteran politics observer Thomas Mills’ amusing take on that question), it would be far from the first time Cawthorn has told absurd tales or uttered dangerously irresponsible claims. What appears to be different on this occasion, however, is that the young GOP attack dog has nipped at his handlers rather than simply directing random outrageous attacks at other, more politically convenient targets.
According to a report by Dave Goldiner of the New York Daily News and headlined today by the Greensboro News & Record, Cawthorn is in at least a tiny bit of trouble with GOP bosses. But it ain’t much:
On Wednesday, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who represents western North Carolina’s 11th District in the U.S. House, walked back blockbuster drugs-and-sex claims about fellow lawmakers in a brutal tongue-lashing from GOP leaders.
Cawthorn admitted to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that he made up claims that he saw lawmakers doing cocaine and that they invited him to orgies.
“He changes what he tells, and that’s not becoming of a congressman,” McCarthy said. “He did not tell the truth (and) that’s unacceptable”
…McCarthy said Cawthorn could face further disciplinary action.
“He’s lost my trust is gonna have to earn it back,” McCarthy told reporters. “And I laid out to him everything that I find is unbecoming.”
Yikes! That ought to show him. Let’s hope Cawthorn doesn’t tell another whopper or he might get sentenced to ten minutes in ‘time out’ or maybe a two-day delay in campaign checks from McCarthy’s PAC.
Earn back his trust? Give us a break.
Of course, the hard truth here is that much more powerful Republicans — including a certain former President of the United States — have been telling vastly more outrageous and dangerous lies than young Mr. Cawthorn for many years, and as with Cawthorn, supposedly responsible and patriotic leaders like McCarthy haven’t done diddly about it.
The bottom line: One supposes it’s possible this could be one of the last straws for Cawthorn. The New York Times reports that even some of the people who voted him into office in 2020 are, at long last, growing tired of his ridiculous shtick. But, for now, the Republican leaders with the real power and clout to do something about Cawthorn — people like McCarthy and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Pat McCrory and Ted Budd — are all too chicken to speak out plainly and openly for fear of riling the extremists who comprise his loyal and deeply disturbed base.
And those waiting to see things finally reach such a boiling point probably ought not to hold their breath.