Madison Cawthorn is a GOP castaway: Kevin McCarthy fumes at House Republican's "orgies" allegation

Cawthorn reportedly admitted to McCarthy that his allegations of drug-fueled sex parties were exaggerated

By Jon Skolnik

Published March 30, 2022 2:56PM (EDT)

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Members of the GOP House caucus are asking Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., to name names after the freshman lawmaker alleged that he was invited to "orgies" by several of his Republican role models. 

"It does paint the picture here that isn't accurate," Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., told The Daily Beast. "Name names. Let's see who he hangs out with."

"I think it is important, if you're going to say something like that, to name some names," echoed Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. said in an interview with Politico.

"You should have to name names if you are going to go make those kinds of brush stroke accusations and impugn the character of people in this institution or … anybody else in this town," another House Republican added.

Cawthorn's comments came during a Sunday interview on the "Warrior Poet Society" podcast, in which the freshman congressman described Congress as a hotbed for "sexual perversion."

"I look at all these people, a lot of them that I, you know, I've looked up to through my life. I've always paid attention to politics guys that, you know, then all of the sudden you get invited to like, well, hey, we're going to have kind of a sexual get together at one of our homes," Cawthorn claimed.

"And then you realize they're asking you to come to an orgy. Or the fact that, you know, there's some of the people that are leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country and then you watch them doing, you know, a key bump of cocaine right in front of you and it's like wow this is wild," the lawmaker added. 

RELATED: Madison Cawthorn claims "orgy" invites from people "I've looked up to through my life"

Cawthorn's allegations, now widely circulated online, did not sit well with a number of House Republicans.

"I've been here a decade, and besides the fact we're just cruel to each other, at many levels, it's one of the most boring places," Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., told The Daily Beast. "Truly, it's one of the most banal places you can imagine."

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tex., also appeared to dispute Cawthorn's account, saying, "I haven't seen those parties. So, I need to find out more about it before I comment, because that just seems rather bizarre."

RELATED: Rising GOP star Madison Cawthorn faces renewed scrutiny as sexual misconduct allegations resurface

On Tuesday, Politico reported that Cawthorn was subject to a stern talking-to by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., about the freshman's vague insinuations. McCarthy told the outlet that Cawthorn has "lost my trust" and "is gonna have to earn it back." According to CNN, Cawthorn also admitted during the meeting that his remarks "were exaggerated/untrue."

"You can't make statements like that as a member of Congress, it affects everybody else and the country as a whole," McCarthy fumed. 

McCarthy's response indicates that Cawthorn will face greater political repercussions for his comments than Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who the House speaker has condemned – but not punished – for her promotion of antisemisitic conspiracy theories and attendance at a white nationalist conference. 

Cawthorn has a known history of both stretching the truth and lying altogether. On the campaign trail, for instance, the lawmaker claimed that he "had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field." However, Cawthorn competed in no qualifying races for the event. Cawthorn has also exaggerated the success of his real estate firm and, according to The Washington Post, may have taken significant creative liberties with the story of his own paralysis. Cawthorn also was a big propagator of Donald Trump's Big Lie, for which McCarthy has not offered public condemnation. 


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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