U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn's claims that he has repeatedly been approached by members of Congress whom he has respected for many years, to take part in private cocaine-fueled orgies were initially ignored but have become a major scandal for House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
It's not going well for either of them – and the internet is destroying McCarthy for his handling of the scandal.
McCarthy, who has been engaged in a years-long campaign to become Speaker of the House despite his obvious impediments, was forced to address Cawthorn's remarks by his caucus members – not to launch an investigation or ask local law enforcement to look into them, but because Republicans say they are "upset" Cawthorn made his allegations public.
Cawthorn has now lost McCarthy's support after the Minority leader spoke with him Wednesday afternoon, as CNN's Capitol Hill reporter explains:
The North Carolina freshman Congressman has also lost the support of North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who told CNN's Manu Raju, “I thought it was a silly statement and it’s not the first one.”
“I thought about the statement, if it’s true, then he’s got a lot of information to reveal. If it’s not true, then he’s guilty of being untruthful,” Tillis also said.
Asked if Cawthorn is a problem, Tillis told CNN, “At the end of the day, people in the district are going to have to vote for him and I would ask them to look at his record and ask what has he done since he’s been here.”
Voters are going to have to look at Cawthorn's record, and they're being asked by some of North Carolina's longest-serving, best-known, and most powerful state lawmakers to vote for Cawthorn's primary challenger.
Meanwhile, here's what some keen observers are noting on social media about McCarthy:
"Not sure why Republicans are acting so shocked by Cawthorn’s alleged revelations about their party," says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). "One of their members is being investigated for sex trafficking a minor and they’ve been pretty OK w/ that. They issued more consequences to members who voted to impeach Trump."
"Madison Cawthorn's efforts to undermine a free and fair presidential election didn't cause him to lose Kevin McCarthy's trust. He only gave a damn when Cawthorn made his Republican colleagues look bad. Priorities."
"Cawthorn has called Zelensky a 'thug,' used white nationalist rhetoric, and relentlessly pushed Trump's false claims of election fraud," notes Judd Legum, Popular Information founder. "But he only lost McCarthy's 'trust' when he said he was invited to an orgy by another member of Congress."
"If only Republicans were as upset by their members speaking at white national conferences," says The Atlantic's Molly Jong-Fast.