Republican Madison Cawthorn slammed in scathing editorial for pushing Kremlin 'talking points'
Madison Cawthorn (Screen Grab)

Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina is among the many far-right MAGA Republicans who has been an apologist for Russian President Vladimir Putin — even during the Ukraine invasion. Cawthorn was more than happy to push Kremlin talking points when, during a March 5 townhall event in Asheville, North Carolina, he attacked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “thug.” And the editorial board of North Carolina’s Winston-Salem Journal calls him out for it in a scathing editorial published on March 12 and headlined “Our view: Cawthorn Is Deplorable.”

Cawthorn, during his March 5 diatribe, told the crowd, “Remember that Zelensky is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies.”

Describing “woke ideologies” as “a catch-all term for anything conservatives dislike,” the Journal’s editorial board adds, “(Zelensky) has been leading his nation against a foreign invasion conducted by an unhinged dictator. This is the Zelensky who has defied an invasion force probably a hundred times mightier than Ukraine — one that has committed atrocities and war crimes by destroying hospitals and schools and homes, sending at least 2.5 million refugees to other countries.”

The Journal’s editorial board continues, “This was the Zelensky who answered an offer of asylum with the words, ‘The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.’ This is the Zelensky who cleverly withstood pressure from former President Trump to open a bogus investigation — is that what’s stuck in Cawthorn’s craw? — of the Biden family. Zelensky’s not running. He’s not blathering. With all odds against him, he’s fighting. This is a David and Goliath story — and Cawthorn thinks Goliath got a bad rap.”

The Journal’s editorial board notes that some well-known Republicans — including GOP strategist Karl Rove, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — were quick to condemn Cawthorn’s anti-Zelensky remarks, but adds that other Republicans have, like Cawthorn, been Putin apologists.

“Cawthorn’s comments might easily be written off as part of a misunderstood, nuanced evaluation of the situation if not for the degree of aid and comfort being offered Putin by other conservatives — including Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, who last week, promoted Russian disinformation about U.S.-funded bioweapons labs in Ukraine,” the Journal’s editorial board writes. “And if not for Sen. Marco Rubio slipping up earlier in the week by live-broadcasting information that could have compromised Zelensky’s safety. And if not for the repeated praise offered the Russian dictator by former President Trump. All of that leads to questions about what Rep. Liz Cheney calls the ‘Putin wing’ of the Republican Party.”

The Journal’s editorial board concludes its editorial by stressing that Cawthorn is an embarrassment to his district in North Carolina.

“The communities in our state’s 11th Congressional District have their share of problems, including the opioid crisis that has affected every other segment of society, underfunded educational resources and the challenge of drawing economic opportunities to help them thrive,” the editorial board writes. “They would do better to elect a representative who addresses those issues rather than one who repeats Russian talking points and distracts them with culture wars.”