Republican North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn has responded to a leaked video saying it shows him and a friend being “crass,” “acting foolish” and “joking.” The video spread on Twitter on May 4, 2022, and Cawthorn responded with a tweet attributing the emergence of the video to a campaign by the “swamp of Washington”
Cawthorn had earlier in the day said in a Twitter video there has been a “drip drip campaign” to cost him the GOP nomination in his primary as he seeks a second term in the House of Representatives. The 26-year–old Cawthorn was first elected to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District in 2020 and faces a primary on May 17. Cawthorn was trending on Twitter on May 4 after the video was posted online.
On Twitter, Cawthorn wrote about the video that some have been calling a “sex tape,” that “A new hit against me just dropped. Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish, and joking. That’s it. I’m NOT backing down. I told you there would be a drip drip campaign. Blackmail won’t win. We will.”
The 30-second video shows a naked Cawthorn appearing to hump and thrust on a bed near another man. The video does not show any sexual activity between the two men. It appears the footage is being recorded by someone else in the room. Cawthorn can be heard groaning and yelling.
A Photo of Madison Cawthorn Wearing Women’s Lingerie During a Cruise Party Also Recently Emerged & He Has Faced Questions About Potential Insider Trading Related to a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Crypto Coin
Cawthorn has been the target of a string of negative headlines in recent weeks, including a Politico “exclusive” report that included a photo of him wearing women’s lingerie. The photo was taken at a party on a cruise, according to Cawthorn.
Another report, in The Washington Examiner, questioned whether Cawthorn will be subjected to a possible insider trading investigation or ethics probe over whether he participated in a “pump-and-dump” scheme involving a “Let’s Go Brandon” cryptocurrency.
Cawthorn was also cited on April 26 after a loaded 9mm handgun was found while he was going through a security checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to NBC News. Cawthorn was issued a citation for misdemeanor possession of a dangerous weapon on city property. He could also face a federal fine. Cawthorn was previously cited in 2021 for carrying a gun in an Asheville airport.
In 2021, former college classmates accused Cawthorn of sexual harassment or misconduct in a BuzzFeed News article. The news site wrote:
BuzzFeed News spoke with more than three dozen people, including more than two dozen former students, their friends, and their relatives, who described or corroborated instances of sexual harassment and misconduct on campus, in Cawthorn’s car, and at his house near campus. Four women told BuzzFeed News that Cawthorn, now a rising Republican star, was aggressive, misogynistic, or predatory toward them. Their allegations include calling them derogatory names in public in front of their peers, including calling one woman ‘slutty,’ asking them inappropriate questions about their sex lives, grabbing their thighs, forcing them to sit in his lap, and kissing and touching them without their consent. One of these women now works as an intern for another Republican member of Congress and passes Cawthorn in the corridors of the Capitol. According to more than a dozen people — including three women who had firsthand experience and seven people who heard about these incidents from them at the time — Cawthorn often used his car as a way to entrap and harass his women classmates, taking them on what he could call ‘fun drives’ off campus. Two said he would drive recklessly and ask them about their virginity and sexual experiences while they were locked in the moving vehicle.
According to the article, Cawthorn’s team declined to respond to the accusations and directed BuzzFeed News to comments he made during a debate, “Ihave never done anything sexually inappropriate in my life. If I have a daughter, I want her to grow up in a world where people know to explicitly ask before touching her. If I had a son, I want him to be able to grow up in a world where he would not be called a sexual predator for trying to kiss someone.”
Another leaked video, obtained by The Daily Mail in late April, shows Cawthorn in a car with his aide and staffer, Stephen Smith, with Cawthorn saying, “I feel the passion and desire and would like to see a naked body beneath my hands.” The video then shows Smith who responds, “Me too,” as he reaches his hand toward Cawthorn’s crotch as Cawthorn sits in the driver’s seat.
After The Daily Mail posted the video, Cawthorn tweeted, “Many of my colleagues would be nowhere near politics if they had grown up with a cell phone in their hand.”
Cawthorn Said on Twitter, ‘I’m Ready to Keep Fighting for You … Don’t Let the Swamp of Washington Dissuade You or Distract You From Sending a Warrior Back to Washington’
Earlier on May 4, Cawthorn posted a video on Twitter responding to the several stories about him that have been in the headlines in recent weeks. Cawthorn tweeted, “I’m ready to keep fighting for you. I wanted you to know the truth, straight from me. Don’t lose hope, don’t listen to the fake news. Don’t let the swamp of Washington dissuade or distract you from sending a warrior back to Washington. I’ve only just begun to fight for you.”
In the video, Cawthorn said, “I’m sure that many of you have seen some outlandish stuff the media has been putting out about me the last few weeks. I’ve never really seen the Swamp launch such a coordinated attack against anyone in politics, except for Donald Trump.” About the women’s underwear photo released by Politico, Cawthorn said, “This article is pushing a ludicrous narrative that I’m some kind of drag queen. … The media thinks that playing a goofy game on a cruise ship with my friends and family means I can’t serve in Congress. That is garbage. My mother was literally in that crowd.”
Cawthorn has lost the support of multiple North Carolina Republicans, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, who called for an ethics investigation into the insider trading questions. Cawthorn tweeted, “RINOS are tripping over themselves to defeat me. They will lose. We will win.”
In March, Cawthorn drew backlash from fellow Republicans after he said on the “Warrior Poet Society” podcast that he had been invited to a “sexual get-together” and “orgy” at a politician’s home after arriving in Washington and that, “Some of the people leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country, and then you watch them do a key bump of cocaine right in front of you. And it’s like, this is wild.”