Analysis: Madison Cawthorn is *really* good at getting bad press

You could be forgiven if you thought the North Carolina Republican was there a lot longer – based solely on the amount of negative press it may have generated.

The latest episode came on Tuesday, when Cawthorn was cited for bringing a loaded handgun to a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at the Charlotte airport. (Yes, I said a LOADED handgun.) Cawthorn did not respond to a CNN request for comment.
It’s not even the first time since he’s been in Congress that Cawthorn has had this problem. Asheville Regional Airport officers found an unloaded gun and a loaded magazine in Cawthorn’s carry-on luggage in February 2021. A Cawthorn spokesperson told the Citizen-Times of Asheville when the newspaper ran a story about the July 2021 incident that the congressman brought the gun “by mistake”. Cawthorn has not been charged.

The two gun incidents are part of a truly remarkable streak of bad press for Cawthorn, who became a national figure in 2020 when he beat Donald Trump-endorsed nominee in the race to replace chief of staff. of the White House, Mark Meadows.


* Cawthorn claimed in March that he was invited to an orgy while in Washington and saw leaders of the anti-drug movement taking cocaine. After meeting with Cawthorn following the allegations, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the North Carolina congressman “didn’t tell the truth. That’s unacceptable.”
* That same month, CNN reported that Cawthorn was facing charges of driving with a revoked driver’s license. It was the second time in the past five years that Cawthorn had faced this charge.
* Cawthorn also made negative headlines in March when a video surfaced in which he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and said the Ukrainian government was “unbelievably bad”.
* In March 2021, CNN reported on a series of sexual misconduct allegations made against Cawthorn by women who said he behaved inappropriately around them during his college years. Cawthorn denied any wrongdoing.
There’s more, but you get the picture. (I won’t even get into the pictures of underwear.)

In a very short time, Cawthorn received a lifetime of bad press and caused a mountain of distraction for House Republicans trying to support the majority in November.

“It’s about being district focused, about delivering results for the district, and in my opinion, Mr. Cawthorn hasn’t shown a lot of results over the past 18 months,” the Republican senator said. North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, who endorsed State Senator Chuck Edwards, one of Cawthorn’s top GOP challengers, recently told CNN.
In a new announcement Posted this week ahead of the May 17 primary in North Carolina, Edwards takes aim at Cawthorn, describing him as “Instagram famous.”

“They show us their training, what they eat, where they go. But they don’t accomplish anything,” Edwards says in the ad as images from Cawthorn’s Instagram account appear onscreen. “As they post online, America is collapsing.”

While House Republican leaders have stayed out of the primary so far, you can bet they won’t miss Cawthorn — and all the negative press attention — if he fails on May 17.

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