One of the U.S. House seats Republicans hope to keep on their side of the fence next week is the one representing North Carolina’s 11th District. There’s reason to believe 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn (below) — a MAGA cultist in every sense of that word — will retain support from the red-leaning district, but it’s not a lock.
Here’s what you should know about Cawthorn: A few years ago, he visited Hitler’s former vacation home and posted to Instagram that it was a place that had been on his “bucket list for awhile.” (He also referred to Hitler as a “supreme evil,” but it didn’t negate the otherwise gleeful tone of the post.)
More recently, he’s been under fire after his campaign created a website to trash a journalist by saying that writer left the world of academia “to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.”
So Cawthorn is a young white racist Republican who hates it when people call him a young white racist Republican.
He has also been accused of sexual misconduct. Before he spoke at the Republican National Convention this summer, WORLD (a faith-based outlet) published an article in which multiple women who knew Cawthorn described his “aggressive sexual behavior.”
… The women say Cawthorn exhibited sexually or verbally aggressive behavior toward them when they were teenagers.
Two women say he forcibly kissed them. One woman told me he grabbed her thigh and moved his hand an inch or two beneath her dress. WORLD has corroborated each woman’s account with at least one other individual.
WORLD repeatedly asked for an interview with Cawthorn to discuss these accounts but has not yet heard a response. WORLD will update the story as more information becomes available.
“I do not know who Madison Cawthorn is today,” Katrina Krulikas said in her Instagram statement Thursday. “But I do know how threatened and belittled he made me feel six years ago.”
Now, somehow, it’s getting even worse.
It turns out — you’ll never believe this — Cawthorn is a conservative Christian who attended Patrick Henry College, a place that is known for its fundamentalism, the way many of its graduates enter the world of right-wing politics, and its inability to handle allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2014, the school’s president resigned after stories of the school’s botched cases went viral.
Cawthorne wasn’t at the school at that time. He attended for one semester back in 2016 before dropping out after earning near-failing grades. But that was still long enough to earn a reputation for sexually predatory behavior, lying, and vandalism.
That’s according to an open letter written by 10 Patrick Henry College graduates and signed by another 166 alums of the school.
More than ever, we need leaders with integrity. Madison Cawthorn, who is lauded by many as the rising millennial star of the GOP, demonstrated anything but while attending my alma mater. NC District 11, you deserve better representation. #RejectCawthorn #StandForConsent (1/10) pic.twitter.com/lHQZcbESVa
— Abby Osborne (@thedotofthei) October 18, 2020
10 authors. 166 signing supporters. That’s 176 current students, former students, and alumni of @patrickhenrycol speaking out to urge the voters of #NC11 to #StandForConsent and #RejectCawthorn. That is significant! #NCpol pic.twitter.com/d6Mu7nGXg1
— Marquis Gough (@ItsGrandMarquis) October 22, 2020
The full text of the letter is damning:
We, as alumni and former students of Patrick Henry College (PHC), oppose Madison Cawthorn’s candidacy for the United States Congress.
PHC is a small, Christian college where we were educated in intellectual conservatism and the core tenets of good governance, rooted in a deep appreciation for our country’s founding principles. Through intensive study of the classics and the writings of our Founding Fathers we learned that those seeking to represent us in public service should be men and women of good moral character. It was the “Father of Our Country,” President George Washington, who said so when he wrote to his nephew in 1790 that “a good moral character is the first essential in a man… It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.” PHC regularly touts the placement of its graduates in positions of influence in law and conservative politics, and we take pride in that PHC cultivates citizens of upstanding moral character who will “lead the nation and shape the culture.” However, based on our knowledge of Cawthorn’s character and our experience with him as a classmate at PHC, we have determined that we must speak out and resolutely oppose his bid to represent the people of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.
Cawthorn’s time at PHC was marked by gross misconduct towards our female peers, public misrepresentation of his past, disorderly conduct that was against the school’s student honor code, and self-admitted academic failings.
During his brief time at the college, Cawthorn established a reputation for predatory behavior. His modus operandi was to invite unsuspecting women on “joy rides” in his white Dodge Challenger. Cawthorn would take young women to secluded areas, lock the doors, and proceed to make unwanted sexual advances. It became a regular warning in the female dorms not to be caught alone with Madison Cawthorn. Additionally, he referred to female students as “bitches” and “sluts”, both in private amongst his friends and often publicly. He also called our female peers these derogatory names when they refused to go for a ride in his car.
At the beginning of the 2017 spring semester, Cawthorn shared his personal testimony at one of our campus-wide chapel services. Over the course of his testimony, Cawthorn said that he was “a top football recruit for the Naval Academy” and that after his accident he told doctors that he “would be at the Naval Academy by Christmas.” Cawthorn has placed this narrative at the center of his campaign, namely that his tragic accident “derailed his plans” to attend the Naval Academy. However, a sworn deposition from his lawsuit against his friend’s auto insurance company shows that Cawthorn knew before the accident that his nomination to the Naval Academy had been rejected.
Cawthorn recounted how “my best friend, my brother” managed to extricate himself from the wreckage of the accident and deserted Cawthorn to perish alone in “a fiery tomb.” Yet according to local journalists and reporting, Cawthorn’s friend, with the assistance of a bystander, pulled Cawthorn from the wreckage, saving his life. In describing the friend’s actions, Cawthorn’s father said “he wasn’t scared, didn’t run from the fire, he pulled Cawthorn from the car cause he was unconscious.” To build a compelling narrative, Cawthorn is willing to skew the truth and slander the character of a friend who saved his life.
Later that same semester, Cawthorn was involved in a well-documented case of vandalism. He, along with another former student, stole a commemorative sword with a deep sentimental value from one of the male dormitories. The sword was later found dumped in the college pond, covered in cement. This destructive action aptly displays Cawthorn’s pattern of disrespect for his community and blatant disregard for its values. How can someone who flagrantly disrespects the deeply held traditions of the communities they participated in, be trusted to respect our country’s most sacred institutions?
Following his departure from PHC, more information came to light about Cawthorn having groped and sexually harassed female students who believed him to be a friend. One of these cases was recently confirmed by WORLD Magazine, a conservative evangelical publication based in Asheville, NC. This student described how Cawthorn grabbed her thigh underneath her skirt and complimented parts of her body in an inappropriate way that made her feel extremely uncomfortable. The article also recounts Cawthorn taking other women to secluded areas to forcefully engage in unwanted sexual advances, which matches the experiences of women at PHC. These reprehensible actions have had lasting impacts on the women he targeted. And still many women are not ready to share their stories of what he did to them.
But we remember what Madison Cawthorn did to our community. We remember how he took advantage of our community’s trust. We remember how deeply he hurt our community. We remember that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing who made our small, close-knit community his personal playground of debauchery. We remember that other survivors have yet to share their stories. And it is because we remember that we will not sit idly by while he is celebrated as the new face of the conservative movement, millennials, and Christians.
Therefore, we urge the voters of North Carolina to seriously reevaluate Madison Cawthorn’s candidacy in light of who he really is. Our Founding Fathers made it clear that good moral character is the first requirement for anyone seeking to represent the American people, and Cawthorn falls short of that standard. North Carolina deserves better; North Carolina demands better. So on November 3rd, reject Madison Cawthorn at the ballot box.
Cawthorn himself responded to that letter with a pathetic attempt at saying he had plenty of PHC alums endorsing him! Like… six of them! (Two of them apparently work for him.)
Besides not actually responding to any of the allegations in the PHC alums’ open letter, the most interesting thing about Cawthorn’s statement was how it was revised.
An earlier edit shows that the following paragraph was removed from the version you’re seeing above:
The alumni of Patrick Henry college were delighted to hear that PHC’s founder, and Chancellor Emeritus, Dr. Michael Farris, reached out, in his personal capacity, to congratulate Madison Cawthorn on his primary victory and offer any support he needed in his race for Congress. We are proud to see that the founder of our college shares the values that the students of our institution hold, and supports a candidate that reflects well on Patrick Henry College.
According to Blue Ridge Public Radio, Farris offered a perfunctory congratulations after his primary victory, but he doesn’t know Cawthorn and isn’t issuing any sort of endorsement, even in a personal context. That’s why the paragraph had to be removed.
Former PHC President Farris quickly released a statement denying an endorsement and saying the Cawthorn “statement is not true.” Farris wrote in a widely shared text that he had contacted the campaign’s “chief consultant.”
“I told him to have Madison leave me out of it,” Farris wrote.
The head of the alumni association also stated contrary to the campaign letter’s claim that the association makes no political endorsements.
Basically, everyone who knows anything about this guy is warning the district not to vote for him. Republicans nationwide may salivate at his candidacy — a handsome young Trump supporter! The GOP’s response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez! — but he’s a disaster-in-waiting.
A 25-year military veteran who has served his country with honor or a 25-year old who is more concerned with signaling to extremists than doing the job.
Davis resigned from his position as Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay because he refused to follow the demands of the Bush administration and use “evidence” obtained through torture. His biggest scandal appears to be some questionable tweets — which, honestly, doesn’t seem nearly as significant as what people are saying about Cawthorn.
You can donate to Davis’ campaign here. I don’t say this often, but voters in that district need to listen to the graduates of Patrick Henry College and keep Cawthorn from obtaining power.
(Screenshot via YouTube)