Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s office fired back at Democrats from his state calling on the House speaker to expel him, saying his efforts to contest the election were “entirely appropriate and legal.”
“Unlike NC-11 Democrats, Madison Cawthorn condemns mob violence under any banner,” Cawthorn’s communications director Micah Bock told Fox News. “Democrats were silent when left-wing mobs attacked civilians, businesses, and law enforcement in Asheville. They have no moral authority to speak up now when they were silent then.”
State Democrats from Cawthorn’s 11th District have written a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for an investigation into the Republican congressman. They claim there was an ethics violation for “violent language” he used leading up to the Capitol riots.
“Mr. Cawthorn needs to be held accountable for his seditious behavior and for consequences resulting from said behavior,” reads the letter, which was obtained and published by The Mountaineer. “We will not tolerate misinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies from our Representatives.”
Cawthorn in a surprise upset beat out a candidate for North Carolina’s 11th District in the primary. But he said his victory was not a referendum on the president and continued to support Trump throughout the November election. He was one of 139 House members who voted to sustain objections to the Electoral College results in some states during Congress’ joint session Wednesday.
Cawthorn’s office said the congressman, 25, had condemned the “abhorrent violence” on Jan. 6 and criticized President Trump for directing protesters toward the Capitol.
“Principled conservatives disagreed about the 2020 election,” Bock said. “But debating whether Congress should accept or reject electoral votes in states that may have ignored their own laws was entirely appropriate and legal under our Constitution.”
The letter from Democrats– signed by the 11th District Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sinclair, along with four other party officials — asked that if the two-thirds vote needed for his expulsion could not be met, that the speaker censure Cawthorn instead.
“In a speech to the crowd at the rally immediately before the Capitol was attacked, Representative Cawthorn incited the crowd again using violent language and calling his colleagues ‘cowards’,” it added.
A petition for Change.org also has garnered over 27,000 signatures demanding Cawthorn’s resignation, pointing to a speech he gave in December advising pro-Trump supporters to “lightly threaten” congressmen who refused to condemn the presidential election as fraudulent.
“Call your congressman and feel free, you can lightly threaten them and say, you know what, if you don’t start supporting election integrity, I’m coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you, everybody’s coming after you,” Cawthorn said. The remarks were first reported by the Charlotte Observer.
The congressman had spoken at the “Save America” rally hours before it broke into anarchy.
“My friends, the Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice,” Cawthorn told the crowd. His office said he was clear at the time that protesters’ concerns should be remedied on the House floor, not by violence.
But the House’s youngest member expressed regret this week that the unrest at the Capitol that left five dead had harmed the movement that Trump had led.
“We’ve slid back our movement years and years. We’ve lost years of progress. It’s a sad state of affairs,” Cawthorn said in an interview Monday with WTVD, the ABC owned TV station in Durham, N.C., “The Republican Party is leaderless right now. It’s very fluid trying to figure out what it is. My heart hurts for where the country is at just to see people with American flags and Trump flags, people who normally I associate with, storming our Capitol. It’s sickening and infuriating.”
Asked about impeachment proceedings in the House, Cawthorn said he doesn’t believe the president’s words meet the legal standard for inciting an insurrection, as Democrats have charged, but he noted the president’s hand in the riots.
“I think when the president said we’re going to march down to the Capitol and I’m going to march with you that was a major mistake. He never should’ve directed that crowd toward the Capitol,” Cawthorn said. “The bad outcome was destined at that point.”
It is unclear what Pelosi will do following the expulsion and censure demands, but freshmen Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., filed a resolution the day of the attack on Jan. 6, calling for the investigation and potential removal of all House members who incited violence by contesting state election results and pushing unfounded claims of election fraud.