Embattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn has accused the North Carolina “political establishment” of attempting to sabotage his political career with “salacious lies” after he was cited for possessing a loaded gun at an airport for the second time.
During a more than two-minute Instagram video posted on his account Tuesday, the North Carolina Republican charged he was a victim of a “coordinated attack” against right-wing first-term members of Congress.
“It’s going on across the country, but [in] North Carolina, we have the North Carolina political establishment and one RINO senator who are really targeting me,” he said, using the acronym for “Republican in name only.”
“They’re coming hard,” Cawthorn ranted. “They’re putting hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars to be able to defeat me.”
Cawthorn, 26, is facing a handful of challengers in the May 17 GOP primary, including state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) has endorsed.
A super PAC aligned with Tillis last week spent more than $300,000 to air an ad attacking Cawthorn, claiming the freshman congressman displayed a pattern of dishonesty, according to reports.
In the Instagram video, Cawthorn labeled criticism of him levied in commercials and polls “ridiculous, salacious lies.”
“We’re starting to see this coordinated drip campaign. … It’s where they’re going to drop an attack article every one or two days just to try to kill us with death by 1,000 cuts, and that is really their main strategy,” he fumed, as he scoffed at “political shenanigans” and added that he is “very confident” his reelection campaign will be successful.
The rant was delivered after Transportation Security Administration workers on Tuesday morning said they found a loaded Staccato 9mm handgun in Cawthorn’s bag during security screening at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Cawthorn was previously caught with a gun in February 2021, when he tried to board an airplane in Asheville with a 9mm and loaded magazine on his carry-on luggage, according to WLOS.
A Tuesday report in The Washington Examiner also revealed that Cawthorn may have broken the law by engaging in insider trading.
Last week, a leaked recording showed that a former Cawthorn staffer is filing a complaint against the scandal-scarred lawmaker for allegedly improperly refusing to grant time off after two unexpected family medical emergencies, including the death of her uncle and her husband suffering a heart attack.
Cawthorn also recently faced scrutiny after he compared Capitol Hill to its portrayal in the Netflix series “House of Cards” and spoke about supposed cocaine-fueled orgies.
“The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington. I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70 — [you] look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life, I’ve always paid attention to politics,” Cawthorn told the Warrior Poet Society podcast.
“Then all of a sudden you get invited. ‘We’re going to have a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.’ ‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy.”