Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) responded Friday to a report that showed him wearing lingerie by explaining the alleged context surrounding the photos.
“The revelation of the two photos is the latest in a series of unflattering headlines for the freshman member of Congress in the run-up to the primary in his first re-election bid,” Politico reported. “Cawthorn has seven Republican opponents who see him as vulnerable.”
The photos were provided to Politico by “a person formerly close to Cawthorn and his campaign” and were confirmed by a second source who was also formerly close to the first-term congressman.
Cawthorn responded to the report by claiming that the photos were taken during a vacation cruise.
“I guess the left thinks goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress) is going to somehow hurt me?” Cawthorn wrote on Twitter. “They’re running out of things to throw at me.”
Madison Cawthorn explains: “I guess the left thinks goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress) is going to somehow hurt me?”
He posted a link to the the cruise ship party. https://t.co/EE6MOidnQt pic.twitter.com/XDSmlMiojT
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) April 22, 2022
Cawthorn posted a link to a blog post that appears to show the event, an adults-only scavenger hunt, on a Royal Caribbean cruise where Cawthorn wore the lingerie.
“What Royal Caribbean event has you sharing your underwear, putting lipstick on strangers and screaming at the top of your lungs? It’s the Quest game show, the adults-only scavenger hunt that ranks as a cruise can’t-miss,” the post stated. “Quest is uproariously fun, supremely competitive, and it’s definitely for adults only, which is why it’s often scheduled after 11 p.m.”
Cawthorn caused uproar last month after he claimed that members of Congress had invited him to orgies and had consumed cocaine in front of him.
“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,” Cawthorn claimed without evidence during a podcast. “You watch them do a bump of cocaine right in front of you. And it’s like, this is wild.”
Cawthorn’s unsubstantiated claims set off a firestorm among House Republicans, which resulted in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) having a meeting with Cawthorn.
Axios reported on the meeting:
McCarthy said Cawthorn conceded some of his remarks were untrue and “exaggerated.”
“I just told him he’s lost my trust, he’s gonna have to earn it back, and I laid out everything I find is unbecoming. And, you can’t just say, ‘You can’t do this again.’ I mean, he’s got a lot of members very upset,” McCarthy said. “In the interview, he claims he watched people do cocaine. Then when he comes in, he tells me, he says he thinks he saw maybe a staffer in a parking garage from 100 yards away.”
“It’s just frustrating. There’s no evidence behind his statements,” McCarthy continued. “And when I sit down with him … I told him you can’t make statements like that, as a member of Congress, that affects everybody else and the country as a whole.”