Madison Cawthorn on Twitter, January 1

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-North Carolina), the charming young Aryan who got elected to Congress despite/because he announced that visiting der Führer 's vacation home was on his bucket list, is still working out how best to spin his participation in the run-up to the failed putsch of January 6. In a fascinating New York magazine piece by Olivia Nuzzi, Cawthorn struggled for words to explain how he wished the day had gone differently. You know, for the sake of the nation, and also for his public image, which has suffered just a skosh since he called on voters to "lightly threaten" members of Congress who didn't overturn the election.

"Literally," Cawthorn said, "I … I … I …" [...]

"In hindsight," Cawthorn went on, "you know, I wish I could've … uhh … if I could, you know … I probably would've … obviously … knowing what happened later in the day … I wish I would've been like, 'Just so you know, we are peaceful protesters.' "

Cawthorn was among the crowd of Republicans who pushed Trump's Big Lie about the election, and now, just two weeks and a day after being sworn in for his first term, he's already facing calls to resign (or for the House to expel him) for having helped spread the lies that Joe Biden stole the election and that if wingnuts all flooded into Washington, they could somehow scare Congress into reversing the results. And truly, he's never directly called for violence, because he knows what plausible deniability is. Instead, here's his completely nonviolent tweet calling for people to join him in Washington to save American identity from a gang of left-wing elites who want to end it forever.

See, he didn't literally say the Jews are going to make America a nonwhite nation, don't be silly. It's about character or something.

In addition to that December speech to the Charlie Kirk Junior Fascist League where he urged some light threats if Congress didn't do a little light treason, Cawthorn also had a prominent spot at Trump's "Save America" rally on January 6, where he was delighted to see so many patriots willing to fight to keep Trump in office, notwithstanding little details like all 50 states having certified their votes.

Cawthorn told Nuzzi that after the rally, he made his way back to his office, with no idea that an armed uprising was on the way, because what on earth could drive patriots to think they had license to rise up and take their country back from the globalist cabal in Congress like that?

"I think telling the people to march down to the Capitol was probably … I mean … that … that just seemed unwise," he told me.

While he was at it, he not very subtly told Nuzzi that when a Capitol security official came into the House chamber to remind members that everything was fine and under control, but they should also remember their seats all had bulletproof backing, "the Democratic side lost their minds. They just started yelling, 'This is because of you!'" Silly Democrats, reacting to a little armed invasion of their workplace as if it were a big deal. What crybabies.

It's quite the story of panicky Democrats and calm Republicans:

Still, Cawthorn said, despite the yelling and "scattering about" and "ten or so members who seemed very vividly, visibly afraid," he didn't grasp what was happening — that the Capitol was, at that moment, being overrun like a fire-ant hill by the same people he had recently exhorted to "chant with me so loud that the cowards in Washington, D.C., that I serve with can hear you." The Republican members were unruffled, he said, until the sergeant at arms informed them that the perimeter had been breached and the building was going into lockdown.

A couple of other North Carolina congressmen helped Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a 2014 car accident, get to safety, and again he emphasizes that their escape to a colleague's office was handled with "an abundance of calm," because Republicans have cool heads and Democrats are pussies. Also, once barricaded in that office, he had a gun, which means never being worried about anything.

But you know what? Even though he wasn't scared at all, Madison Cawthorn did get righteously angry at the mob, because if there's one thing that MAGA is not about, it's outbursts of blind rage, and he really resented that the rioters didn't get that. Also, Cawthorn took the opportunity to give nerds a bad name.

It was a great bonding experience," he said. "But it literally felt like a scene from The Lord of the Rings. You kind of see the orcs — Helm's Deep, or taking over Minas Tirith, whatever — it just looks like the enemy is on something that they're not supposed to be on … And the worst part was they're all waving these American flags and these MAGA flags, and you want to say, 'You don't represent me at all. That's not my movement. You're not part of my party one bit if you're taking this kind of extreme action.'

Shame on them for taking Trump, and him, and most of the rest of the GOP both seriously and literally.

Looking back on it all, he realizes he might have done more to prevent the riot, if only he'd known people would get all het up by the casual talk of treason and destroying America he had personally been pushing. Because Madison Cawthorn certainly won't take any responsibility for inflaming the Trump Mob, but he's pretty sure he could have calmed them down, such is his moral authority:

"I genuinely believe, had we realized what was going on and sent myself, or maybe Lauren Boebert" [...] "some of these people who are just very recognizable to, kind of, the MAGA crowd; in the wheelchair, I probably would've been better, because it's very easily recognizable. I might've just gone to the front steps." And there, facing the rioters, he said, "I think we could've stopped them."

Or maybe they'd have instantly declared him a RINO and torn him limb from limb, who knows? But probably he could have stopped it, if only he'd known.

The rest of the piece, which looks at Cawthorn's rise from MAGA edgelord to elected member of Congress, is good too, illustrating again and again how cynical his tactics are (like calling for an end to identity politics and praising Trump for appointing a gay Cabinet member). He also can't seem to stop with the nerd culture references, such as comparing being in Congress to being like a Gandalf or a Harry Potter, with potentially immense power constrained only by his midichlorian count the Supreme Court.

It's truly some public service journalism, reminding us that he regrets his first tweet after being announced as the winner ("Cry more, lib!") but that ultimately, he's only interested in the PR side of pretended contrition. He's certainly not sorry for being at the "Save America" rally, and by the end of the piece, he's progressed from wishing he could have stopped the riot to convincing himself he kind of did, because what an upstanding guy he is!

In fact, he thinks his speech to the mob may have saved his colleagues' lives. "Maybe my remarks that day led to a thousand less people, or ten less people, who didn't storm the Capitol," he told me. "Maybe that number would've been enough to breach the House floor, and congressmen could have died or more police officers could have died. I think my comments there led to less violence."

Good christ. America really doesn't need a politician who writes fanfiction about himself.

[New York]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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