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Ethics group demands that GOP’s Madison Cawthorn be punished after his calls for violence

Ethics group demands that GOP’s Madison Cawthorn be punished after his calls for violence

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Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) probably would have been better suited to becoming an NRA executive rather than the youngest freshman congressman since the 1960s.

A persistent Second Amendment advocate, Congressman Cawthorn garnered a spate of headlines last month when he attended a gathering of local Republicans in Macon County, North Carolina and, as he held a shotgun he had been asked to sign by an admirer, told the crowd that they should begin stockpiling ammunition and started ranting about the “bloodshed” that would ensue due to what he characterized as the election stolen from Donald Trump.

“If our election systems continue to be rigged, and continue to be stolen, it’s going to lead to one place, and it’s bloodshed,” he said. “And I will tell you, as much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there’s nothing that I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American.”

He continued his rant, calling the insurrectionists who violently stormed the Capitol in a coup attempt on January 6th “political prisoners,” discussing plans to “try and bust them out,” in a juvenile jailbreak fantasy, and ending with a seditious cry of “when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes your duty.”

One could easily dismiss this revolutionary posturing as just another campaign speech from an over-zealous GOP politician was it not for the fact that Rep, Cawthron was also recently caught at a meeting of the Henderson County Board of Education with a prohibited knife underneath the seat of his wheelchair, a violation for which the Henderson County Sheriff’s office graciously decided not to prosecute him.

With a 14th Amendment that clearly states that:

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“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,”

calls for Cawthorn to be expelled from the House of Representatives have circulated on social media since the incidents became public knowledge.

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Now, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) insisting that Congressman Cawthorn at the very least be stripped of his committee assignments — in the same manner that that other Republican right-wing nut job, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was dealt with after news of her stalking school shooting survivors emerged.

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CREW cites Cawthorn’s statements at the Macon County Republican Party event as the impetus for their demand but noted that “This is far from the first time Rep. Cawthorn has made threats and statements suggesting violence,” referencing comments at previous speeches and his presence as a speaker on the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rally that led to the arrest of the so-called “political prisoners” that he is allegedly scheming to “bust” out.

“Rep. Cawthorn may believe that his high office affords him the right to threaten our nations democratic insitutions and that his comments stoking the fires of insurrection are a proper exercise of his power. He is wrong. These statements disgrace his office and undermine the pillars of our system of government. It is your duty to protect both the institution of the House of Representatives and the American people from a member who is willing to employ the power and influence of his office to attack the fabric of our democracy. We therefore request that you limit the scope of Rep. Cawthorn’s potential malign influence by removing him from his committee assignments,” CREW concludes its letter to the two senior House leaders.

While one would hope that Speaker Pelosi sees the wisdom of expelling Cawthorn from Congress altogether as the Consitution allows, rather than the half-measure being proposed by CREW, it is unlikely that Kevin McCarthy who is already having a difficult time corralling his fractious caucus would agree to even the smallest measure of punitive actions against the North Carolina lawmaker.

With just a little over a year until the mid-term elections, the Republicans are more interested in taking actions that support their return to power than in cleaning up the mess that their party has become.

Let’s just hope that the people in Cawthorn’s district have the common sense to reject the rebellious legislator in his next bid for office.

You can read the entire letter from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at this link.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

Original reporting by Kyle Griffin at MSNBC and by Karen Chavez at The Ashville Citizen-Times.

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