In 2017, Madison Cawthorn was a 22-year-old white guy posting what he described as a “bucket list moment” on Instagram: a visit to a vacation home in Germany previously owned by Adolf Hitler, who Cawthorn referred to as “the Fuhrer” in his social media post’s caption. Just three years later, Cawthorn tweeted, “cry more, lib” after becoming the youngest person elected to congress when he won a primary runoff in North Carolina’s 11th District, going on to defeat Democrat Moe Davis, a retired Air Force colonel.
But it’s not just the Hitler admiration that’s cause for concern — nor are the allegations of overt racism and accusations of “aggressive sexual behavior.” For Cawthorn — who also once tweeted to would-be voters a promise that “until my dying breath” he would “defend your freedom in Washington" said in a recent interview that he wants to convert Jews and Muslims to Christianity. And apparently, and like most GOP operatives and Republican lawmakers, when Cawthorn said “defend your freedom” what he really meant was “defend your freedom if you’re white, straight, cis, and Christian.”
During a recent interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel, Cawthorn seemed to equate his goals as a public servant and elected representative to that of a Christian missionary, aiming to convert as many “non-believers” as possible to a singular view of organized religion. In the pursuit of this goal, Cawthorn admitted on the record that he has read the Torah and the Quran, adding that in doing so he would be better equipped to “speak to a practicing Muslim who was kind of thinking like, ‘Hey, you know, I’ve kind of got a feeling in my heart, I’m interested in Christianity.'” A very likely scenario, I’m sure.
Cawthorn went on to pontificate on the importance of converting Jews, Muslims, and other non-Christians to the Christian faith, saying, “If you’re not wanting to lead somebody to Christ, then you’re probably not really a Christian.”
The junior congressman fancies himself an obsessed history buff, saying that it’s his love and appreciation for the country’s past that left him in a state of awe when he stood on the floor of the House for 30 minutes during freshman orientation. Apparently, however, he has overlooked the U.S.'s fundamental separation of church and state — a constitutional protection that has slowly been whittled away to nothing more than a political talking point thanks to Republicans like Cawthorn.
Cawthorn is among those conservatives who believe they have the Christian god-given right to tell others who they can marry, how they can identify, and what they can do with their pregnancies. But perhaps this level of sheer delusion — or misinformation — is not as uncommon among this party. Given that a Republican Senator-elect out of Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, cannot correctly name the three branches of government — he thinks it’s the House, the Senate, and the Executive branch — perhaps another freshman orientation class needs to be added to the Republican party’s repertoire: Civics 101.