Embattled Cawthorn says 'blackmail won't win,' as nude video surfaces amid reelection bid
The freshman congressman warned last week that the "establishment" was running a drip campaign against him.
North Carolina freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthron is responding to the latest piece of unflattering news and leaks amid his reelection bid — a video in which he appears naked — by saying he was merely "acting foolish and joking" with a friend.
On Wednesday, the site FireMadison.com, which is run by the American Muckrakers PAC, posted a blurry video in which the 26-year-old congressman appears naked atop another man, becoming physical and making noises.
Cawthorn later confirmed the video and said he and the other male were "acting foolish" years ago.
"A new hit against me just dropped," he tweeted. "Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish, and joking. That's it. I'm NOT backing down. I told you there would be a drip drip campaign. Blackmail won't win."
Cawthorn, a firebrand conservative and die-hard supporter of former President Donald Trump, has been a consistent presence in the headlines of late. Several weeks ago, he drew the ire of fellow Republicans when he said on a podcast that members of his party in the District of Columbia have invited him to orgies and done cocaine in front of him.
Just last week, Cawthorn was apprehended by Transportation Security Administration officials for attempting to bring a loaded gun through the airport. That incident marked the second time the congressman attempted to bring a gun through an airport while serving as an elected official.
Cawthorn's behavior while in office has drawn several challengers for his May 17 primary, including state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who received the endorsement of North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, who has criticized Cawthorn's "temperament and judgment."
Last week, the 26-year-old lawmaker told his Instagram followers that the "establishment" was planning a "coordinated drip campaign," in which they would "drop an attack article every one or two days just to try and kill us with a death by 1,000 cuts."