Rep. Madison Cawthorn Responds to Nude Video Leak: ‘Blackmail Won’t Win’

The new video comes less than two weeks before Cawthorn's primary and amid an onslaught of suspiciously timed, awful press coverage and scandals.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn Responds to Nude Video Leak: ‘Blackmail Won’t Win’
Photo:Getty (Getty Images)

There is, unfortunately, more news about freshman Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), the 26-year-old fascist Ken doll who’s recently drawn the ire of his party leadership for outing their coke orgies. On Wednesday afternoon, video leaked by a Cawthorn opposition group appeared to show him naked on a bed, thrusting his genitals at an unknown man.

Cawthorn seemed to confirm the video is real in a Wednesday evening tweet, calling it a “new hit against me.”

“Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish, and joking,” he wrote. Fair—who among us hasn’t enjoyed memorable nights with good friends where we hump each other’s faces? “That’s it. I’m NOT backing down,” he continued. “I told you there would be a drip drip campaign. Blackmail won’t win. We will.”

Cawthorn is a public figure with an undeniably shitty record on every issue you could name—including supporting a violent insurrection last year. But sharing naked videos of someone without their consent is objectively bad and, frankly, a testament to how intensely it seems Cawthorn’s own party has turned on him. This fall from grace wasn’t sparked by the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against Cawthorn, his white nationalism, his reputation as a sexual predator, or, again, his support for an insurrection, but his claims that members of his caucus have done drugs in front of and invited him to orgies. If there was any doubt those claims are true, Republicans have confirmed it with their ruthless, relentless campaign to bury him in the ensuing weeks.

The Wednesday video, which is circulating just two weeks before Cawthorn’s increasingly competitive May 17 primary, comes amid an onslaught of suspiciously timed negative press coverage of Cawthorn. As of last month, he’s been caught in numerous run-ins with law enforcement, following his second time being cited for trying to bring a loaded gun through airport security. He’s also faced a slew of traffic violations for reckless driving that resulted in his license being confiscated in March. Video of the traffic incident and police officer taking his license was released just last month.

At roughly the same time as those brushes with the law, Cawthorn, who’s spent much of his career spewing out transphobic nonsense and traditional, toxic ideas about masculinity, was caught partying and posing in women’s lingerie in leaked photos. That, of course, would and should be a non-issue—except for the anti-LGBTQ base he’s spent his Congressional career shamelessly courting.

And on top of all of that, Cawthorn is being investigated for a number of ethics complaints, too. One group that filed an ethics complaint against the embattled Congressman alleges he’s made inappropriate, undisclosed payments and gifts to a staffer named Stephen Smith, who allegedly lives with and has a close “personal relationship” with Cawthorn. Recently leaked video shows the two in a car together, as Smith then appears to grope Cawthorn.

Prior to that video, a notably conservative outlet recently reported that Cawthorn might be entangled in a “Let’s Go Brandon” cryptocurrency scheme. Cawthorn allegedly participated in insider trading last year, when he purchased “LGBCoin” (I wish I did not have to type that out), possibly with non-public knowledge of an upcoming deal between the “LGBCoin” and NASCAR driver Brandon Brown.

Amid all of these scandals, no one in Cawthorn’s party seems particularly eager to come to his defense. One of the US Senators representing his state has called him “an embarrassment,” and the other has endorsed one of his primary opponents. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has called him a liar, and said he needs to “turn his life around.” McCarthy is wrong about nearly all things but is perhaps onto something with this suggestion.

When it comes to Cawthorn, Republican party leadership has drawn a line in the sand. The first rule of cocaine-and-orgy club is don’t talk about cocaine-and-orgy club. And it looks like having all of the tea spilled on you in a very public manner is the punishment for whoever breaks that rule.

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