“I think that we have bred a generation of soft men and that generation has created a lot of problems in our society and our culture,” US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) said roughly one year ago on a podcast called Order of Man that is as aggressively, toxically masculine as its name would imply.
It’s on that note that I’m quite confused to report newly unearthed photos of the freshman Congressman posing in lingerie, appearing to party and sip on white wine with a group of women. See below:
Politico, which shared the photos on Friday afternoon, says they were provided “by a person formerly close to Cawthorn and his campaign.” It’s unclear when the photos were taken, but because Cawthorn appears to be in a wheelchair, they must have been taken after his 2014 accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Cawthorn responded to the photos on Friday in a tweet, calling them “goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise,” which he insists were “taken waaay before I ran for Congress.” (Jezebel is investigating whether any “goofy” games on a major cruise ship involve wearing lingerie and heavy drinking and will update pending our findings.)
“They’re running out of things to throw at me...” he added, despite how this week alone, there seems to be a virtually unending well of oppo on the embattled, young Congressman.
To state the obvious, there’s nothing wrong with cis men wearing attire traditionally gendered for women—this may actually be the only cool or vaguely acceptable thing Cawthorn has ever done, in my opinion. The jarring, problematic aspect of this is the hypocrisy: Cawthorn has repeatedly made anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ statements, including going so far as to lecture about how “real” women don’t have “tallywackers” on the House floor earlier this month. He’s also frequently made clear his stance that “there’s only one God and two genders,” and has referred to women as “earthen vessels” whose existential purpose is procreation.
Following Cawthorn’s recent snitching on Republican colleagues for allegedly inviting him to orgies and doing “key bumps” of coke in front of him, the photos of him hard-partying in women’s underwear come off as more than a little hypocritical, too.
In any case—amid the mystery of when these photos were taken, who provided them to Politico, and what happens next, one thing is clear: Someone—presumably Cawthorn’s own party leadership—wants him out of office. And it’s not hard to see why, in the wake of Cawthorn’s self-inflicted cocaine-and-orgy circus, sparking intense drama and backlash that’s clearly still unfolding. Ever since Cawthorn’s bizarre claims made on a conservative podcast last month, House Republicans have called on Cawthorn to name names. Others, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), called him a liar. One of the senators representing his state of North Carolina called him an “embarrassment,” while the other endorsed one of Cawthorn’s opponents. Things are not looking great for the once promising fascist Ken doll!
Someone—again, likely within his own party—is feeding conservative outlets like the Washington Examiner the tea about the amount of taxpayer dollars Cawthorn spent on a lavish trip to a luxury resort recently. And the young congressman’s own behavior, between repeatedly getting pulled over for reckless driving and having his suspended license confiscated, is giving his enemies plenty of material to work with.
As Cawthorn runs in a new district due to recent redistricting, and with narrowing support from Republican leadership, these new photos—and notably, not the numerous sexual misconduct allegations or open support for an insurrection—might be the straw that breaks the camels back and leads to Cawthorn’s ousting.