Madison Cawthorn is in Georgia this week to campaign for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and in a segment on Fox News, he explained to host Brian Kilmeade why he decided to make the trip. Surprise, surprise, his rationale is pretty racist! As Cawthorn put it, plagiarizing a page straight out of the John Birch Society playbook, “real Americans” shouldn’t support Loeffler’s opponent Raphael Warnock, whom he described as a “radical’s radical.”
“The number one reason I’m coming down here is because if we cede control of our Senate and really all of Washington, D.C. to the Democrats, it’s not going to represent the values of my home, western North Carolina, and certainly not the values of Georgia and the values of most of the people in the United States of America,” Cawthorn said.
Now, Cawthorn seems to have forgotten that quite a lot of his fellow Americans don’t share his values and deserve to also have their views be reflected in their elected officials. But to Cawthorn, that doesn’t matter, because they’re not “real Americans,” and neither, according to him, is Warnock.
“You see this Warnock fella, who’s coming down here and disguising himself as some moderate pastor from the South who doesn’t believe in these radical ideas, but if you look at him really, what he actually believes, he is a radical’s radical,” Cawthorn said. “He wants to defund our police, he says he’s a pastor yet he’s all about abortion. This is somebody who does not represent what real Americans believe.”
Now, before we get to the rest of Cawthorn’s interview, there’s a lot to pick at here, so let’s start with some facts—which have admittedly never been his strong suit. For one, Warnock was actually born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. If we want to talk about carpetbaggers “coming down here,” it’d be more apt to focus our attention on Warnock’s opponent Kelly Loeffler, who was born and went to college in Illinois before moving to Georgia. Oops!
As for the rest of Cawthorn’s attack on Warnock, it tracks with the broader Republican Party strategy in the Georgia Senate runoffs, which is one of the oldest in the book—focus on Warnock and attempt to paint him as a far-left Black activist in an effort to drum up their white Republican base.
Kilmeade then referenced a sermon Warnock once gave in which he sharply criticized Republican Senators who voted for massive tax cuts for the wealthy. Warnock described those senators, in Kilmeade’s words, as “gangsters and thugs who are willing to kill children.” (Here’s part of what Warnock actually said in his 2017 sermon, which quite frankly rules and is spotless in its accuracy: “On Friday night, the United States Senate decided by a slim majority, to pick the pockets of the poor, the sick, the old, and the yet-unborn, in order to line the pockets of the ultra-rich. Don’t tell me about gangsters and thugs on the streets. There are more gangsters and thugs in Washington, D.C.”)
“It’s hard to look at his background and think that that represents what’s traditionally been red Georgia,” Kilmeade mused.
Cawthorn naturally took that dog whistle as an opportunity to engage in some extreme dog whistling of his own. “No, you’re absolutely right, and I love that he used the term ‘gangsters and thugs,’ because that’s the people that he wants to really protect,” Cawthorn responded. “He wants to take our police officers off the streets, make our families here in Georgia and all across the country in more danger, and protect and promote a society that benefits gangsters and thugs.” Cawthorn added, “Warnock wants to take away your police, and he wants to really make our country into a radical ash heap.”
Update (12/16/20, 4:19 p.m.): The communications director for the John Birch Society reached out to Jezebel to clarify that they do not believe the organization is, in fact, racist, writing in part, “Yes, we speak of Americanism, but it has nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin. Freedom is color blind. Americanism are the ideals and attitudes that made this great nation. We have members of every race and ethnicity. It is absolutely absurd to label an organization filled with people of every color and many ethnicities as racist. It flies in the face of reason. Please remove any mention of our organization from your opinion piece.”