Trump Sticks With Cawthorn

Other Republicans have withdrawn support as the freshman's troubles mount
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2022 3:51 PM CDT
Trump Asks Voters to Give Cawthorn a 'Second Chance'
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., speaks before former President Trump takes the stage at a rally in Selma, N.C., last month.   (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)

(Newser) – Many Republican leaders have withdrawn their support from Rep. Madison Cawthorn, the embattled lawmaker from North Carolina whom the state's senior senator has called an "embarrassment." But Donald Trump has reupped, posting on Truth Social, his social media site, that voters should, too. "When Madison was first elected to Congress, he did a great job," the former president said, per the Hill. "Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don't believe he'll make again ... let's give Madison a second chance!"

Cawthorn, first endorsed by Trump last year, is on the GOP primary ballot Tuesday. In seeking a second term, he's up against big names—and prominent Republicans at home and in Washington have backed away from him. Among the mistakes Trump referred to was saying he'd been invited to a Republican orgy in Washington and had seen fellow members do drugs. A Politico profile laid out his recent history, quoting Republicans as saying the freshman has serious personal issues. In his defense in an Instagram video, Cawthorn, who's been pulled over repeatedly while driving, says, "I'll slow down on the road, but I won't be slowing down on working to fix Congress," per the Wall Street Journal.

Sen. Thom Tillis is backing state Sen. Chuck Edwards in the primary, as are other top Republicans in the state legislature. North Carolina's other US senator, Richard Burr, called Cawthorn an "embarrassment" on CNN. Cawthorn faces seven opponents in all, per CBS News. "Unfortunately, Madison Cawthorn has fallen well short of the most basic standards Western North Carolina expects from their representatives," Tillis said in a statement endorsing Edwards, "and voters now have several well-qualified candidates to choose from who would be a significant improvement." (Read more Madison Cawthorn stories.)

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