Madison Cawthorn
Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Republicans are eager to get rid of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) from their caucus, but they don't want to have any part of actually doing it.

According to the Washington Post, the toxicity of the Cawthorn name prompted members of his own party to not only back away but flee for their own political safety.

Just after being sworn into office, Cawthorn was caught with a gun at the TSA checkpoint trying to board a plane. His spokesperson swore that it was a mistake at the time. Cawthorn said he "erroneously" tried to bring his Glock on a plane. Then it happened again.

In March, Cawthorn was pulled over by police, but his license had been revoked. He had been stopped and cited for speeding in January and October and either didn't appear in court or refused to pay the ticket, resulting in the revoked license.

Last week, it was revealed that the right-wing cryptocurrency "Let's Go Brandon" was created, in part, with the help of Cawthorn. The currency is now being sued for what some investors are calling a "pump and dump" scheme, in which investors drive up the cost and then sell it off. Legal experts speculate that Cawthorn could be on the hook for insider trading.

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But things got considerably worse when Cawthorn appeared on a vlog interview in which he accused his Republican colleagues of holding "sexual get-togethers" and using cocaine. For some, that was the last straw. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told the press that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Former President Donald Trump's inner circle has started to distance itself from the young Republican.

"I mean he’s got to turn himself around,” McCarthy said at the time. "This is unacceptable and there is no evidence to this, he changes what he tells and that’s not becoming of a congressman. He did not tell the truth."

Now, Republicans are hoping North Carolina voters make the change.

“The voters of western North Carolina, ultimately, have to make that decision ... if they won’t, it’s up to leadership to deal with it,” the Post cited Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR). “For our side, it’s a leadership issue for us. … Lead on the issue, do the right thing.”

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Cawthorn has blamed all of the attacks against him as a liberal "assault" and proclaimed he would survive the accusations and prevail in the Republican Primary. NC senator Tom Tillis, however, has abandoned Cawthorn for one of his opponents.

“I partner very well with most of the members of the delegation” from North Carolina, Tillis told the Post last week. “Many of them call me when they need help for constituent service or for projects, grants, those sorts of things. Cawthorn’s been there for a year and a half, and I haven’t received a single call. Makes me wonder how much he’s focusing on the district and how much he’s focusing on his political career.”

After being elected, Cawthorn bragged that the majority of his staff would be made up not of constituent services but of communications team members who could help promote his brand. Officials are elected to help those who live in the districts. Republicans in Cawthorn's district have complained that they feel like they don't have a member of Congress.

"I’ll give you a classic example," Tillis explained. "When we had the floods in western North Carolina last year, our office is very good at responding to disasters, working with FEMA. We know the playbook. It was another example, not a single call from the member who represents that area."

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It's typical for new members to make mistakes, sometimes publicly, but the goal for freshmen is to learn and grow, Tillis explained. That's not something he sees happening with Cawthorn.

"The opposition research about him now falling off the back of the GOP truck is prodigious," wrote Independent correspondent Eric Garcia last week. "But the real question is why Cawthorn is the target, particularly given there are equally controversial members in the caucus, including some who, like him, helped incite a literal insurrection."