Rep. Madison Cawthorn should be stripped of his committee assignments following his recent statements calling for violence and undermining our democracy, according to a letter sent today to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. 

At a Macon County Republican Party event in Franklin, NC, Cawthorn repeated the false claims about the validity of the 2020 election that led to the January 6 attack at the Capitol, including that the election was stolen. Cawthorn warned that if future elections “continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen,” it would “lead to one place, and it’s bloodshed.” He then again referenced potential violence, saying that he was “willing to defend our liberty at all costs” but dreaded the possibility of “having to pick up arms” against fellow Americans. 

“Congressman Cawthorn went well beyond just spreading lies that endanger our democracy, he expressed sympathy for insurrectionists and repeatedly raised the prospect of future political violence against fellow Americans,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “These statements disgrace his office and undermine the pillars of our government. We urge Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy to strip Rep. Cawthorn of his committee assignments as a clear repudiation of statements that threaten irreparable harm to our democracy.”

After Cawthorn’s statements drew national attention and scorn, his spokesman attempted to shift their seemingly clear meaning, claiming the congressman was clearly “advocating for violence not to occur over election integrity questions.”

This is not the first time Cawthorn has made public threats or suggested violence. In December 2020, Cawthorn encouraged attendees at a Turning Point USA event to call their members of Congress and “lightly threaten them” if they did not support his views on election fraud and tell them that “everybody’s coming after you.” Cawthorn also spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 just before Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by combat” to fight claimed election fraud. This rally ultimately led to a mob violently breaching the Capitol, the deaths of several law enforcement members and protesters and a delay in certifying the 2020 presidential election. 

“Rep. Cawthorn has made it clear that he is comfortable with using his office to actively undermine our nation’s democratic institutions,” Bookbinder said. “There must be consequences for this behavior. Removing Cawthorn from his congressional committees is a  necessary step toward achieving much-needed accountability.”

Earlier this year, the House adopted a resolution stripping Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments due to her actions and statements that, among other things, advocated violence against public officials and claimed mass shootings were faked. Cawthorn’s conduct and language warrants the same response from the House.

Header image by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license.

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