It’s a grave mistake to assume that the expulsion of Donald Trump from the White House has in anyone lessened the toxic ideological acceleration of the Republican Party. Quite the opposite, it appears that Trump’s defeat and subsequent emphatic lies that the election was illegally stolen from him have only served to metastasize the racism, conspiracy theorizing, and weaponized ignorance that has long been bubbling beneath the surface of the GOP. Losing in 2020 has taught them nothing.
One need only look at the latest crop of Republican Congressman to see where this party is headed. Literal QAnon supporters like Marjorie Taylor Greene now stalk the halls of the Capitol and sociopathic liars like Madison Cawthorne are seen as conservative rising stars. The ascendancy of the latter in particular should be concerning to anyone hoping for a return to even a semblance of normalcy for the Republican Party.
The 25-year-old Cawthorn presents himself as an All-American boy but even a cursory look into his behavior exposes him as a fraud. There have been numerous allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him and even his biography is fabricated. Cawthorn has claimed that the car accident which left him in a wheelchair derailed his dreams of attending the U.S. Naval Academy but in reality his application was rejected before he was in the accident.
As if that weren’t enough, he also seems to have an unhealthy fixation on Nazi Germany, a concerning trait for an elected official in a party that is increasingly embracing white nationalist rhetoric. Cawthorn posted a picture of himself from a trip to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest in Germany and crowed about how he had always wanted to see the “house of the Führer.” His use of the title used by Nazis to show respect for their genocidal leader understandably raised some hackles.
Earlier today, Cawthorn was finally confronted about his Nazi-fetishizing post by a concerned American. He approached Cawthorn, pretended to be a fan so he could get close for a video, and then asked him to his face if he “went to Hitler’s house.” Cawthorn’s manufactured ease immediately evaporated as something like animal panic spread across his face.
“Nope didn’t go there,” lied Cawthorn, pushing away and patting the man on the shoulder.
“What was that Instagram post then?” asked the man.
“That I believe was the retreat,” responded Cawthorn, offering a complete non-answer as he fled the scene.
Unfortunately for Cawthorn, his Instagram post is public and he has now been caught on video lying about it. It’s no wonder he’s such a huge fan of Trump — both of them despise the truth.
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.