The editorial board of the Durham Herald-Sun took North Carolina's Republican Party to task on Sunday in a scorching column for standing by and letting Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) become the face of the party in his home state.
Taking aim at both the freshman lawmaker and newly-elected Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R), the board noted the two are responsible for defining the party in the state as "a party of extremism. A party that, despite everything, has stood by former President Donald Trump."
Focusing primarily on Cawthorn, the editorial board pointed out that the state GOP is well aware of the problem the House Republican is causing for them -- particularly in light of his attempts to disrupt party plans for the midterm election.
"Apparently, some within their party are unhappy with that branding — at least behind the scenes," the editors wrote. "But it might be too late to reclaim the moral high ground."
Quoting an anonymous GOP insider who told the Washington Examiner, "Cawthorn is not well-regarded with Republicans statewide in North Carolina. Many of us think he is an embarrassment to our party and state," the editors added, "The despicable rhetoric coming from certain Republican politicians is hardly a new phenomenon. It didn’t come as a surprise, either — Cawthorn and Robinson campaigned on the same toxic messaging they’re spouting now. And for far too long, it was enabled by the Republican establishment, the vast majority of whom said and did very little to stop it."
"Cawthorn and Robinson may have positioned themselves as future leaders of the Republican Party, but it was hardly a hostile takeover. The party gave their most radical members the tools to dismantle democracy. They gave them a platform, helped fund their campaigns and looked the other way when they strayed into vitriolic territory," the editorial continued.
The editors explained that the two "are not exactly the problem" but are instead "a symptom of a greater one," by which they mean the influence of Donald Trump on the Republican Party nationally.
"Because this is what happens when you spend half a decade allying yourself with the former president and allow his poisonous, incendiary trademark to go unchecked, " they wrote before concluding, "So when Republicans try to paint themselves as rational and morally grounded actors — the very antithesis of people like Cawthorn — North Carolinians should remember all the times that they weren’t."
You can read the whole editorial here.