Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) got called out by a 9/11 first responder on Thursday after he was seen cleaning his gun during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee meeting about the dangers toxic chemicals pose to American military personnel.
The Daily Beast reports that John Feal, a 9/11 first responder who attended Thursday's virtual hearing, was not happy to see Cawthorn treating it so lightly.
“It was immature," said Feal. "He’s a child. He lacks common sense. I think the congressman was overcompensating for something that he lacks and feeling inadequate among the heroes on that call."
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Two sources who attended the virtual hearing tell The Daily Beast that they noticed Cawthorn clearly cleaning his gun during testimony from Jen Burch, a veteran who spent six years in the Air Force serving in Japan and Afghanistan.
Rosie Lopez Torres, the cofounder of Burn Pits 360, told the Daily Beast that she didn't notice Cawthorn's actions while the hearing was taking place, but she grew furious about them after seeing photographs.
"That is insane," she said. "Total disregard and disrespect to America’s war fighters. He was so bored with the topic. Those that are sick and dying and the widows in his district should see how much he cares about the issue."
A spokesperson for Cawthorn defended the congressman's decision to pay more attention to his personal firearm than to witnesses during the hearing.
“What could possibly be more patriotic than guns and veterans?” the spokesman said.
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