Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-NC, this week became the first target in Democrats’ ambitious attempt to disqualify Republican congressional candidates from running for office because of their involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the U.S. Capitol.
The 26-year-old House freshman—the youngest current member of Congress and third youngest ever elected in US history—warned lawfare activists that they picked the wrong guy.
“I’m glad they came for me first, because it’s time to play for keeps and not pull any punches,” Cawthorn said during an exclusive interview with Headline USA.
“I wasn’t surprised, unfortunately, by their attack on freedom,” he said. “It’s a reminder of how Machiavellian, evil and aggressive the woke mob is.”
In this case, it started with a beanball pitch from leftist lawyer Marc Elias, who boasted on Twitter that “before the midterm election, we will have a serious discussion about whether individual Republican House members are disqualified by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment from serving in Congress,” because anyone who doubted the results of Joe Biden’s 2020 election must be an “insurrectionist.”
“We may even see litigation,” Elias said.
Sure enough, earlier this week, 11 activists backed by the left-wing group Free Speech for People filed a candidacy challenge against Cawthorn on that very basis.
The filing argues that the events on Jan. 6 “amounted to an insurrection.”
Because Cawthorn gave an inspirational and patriotic speech as part of the peaceful rally that preceded it, they claim his actions provide a “reasonable suspicion or belief” that he helped facilitate the so-called insurrection and is thus disqualified.
Cawthorn’s great offense was remarking that the “crowd had some fight in it,” they alleged.
“The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans hiding and not fighting—they are trying to silence your voice,” Cawthorn said. “Make no mistake about it, they do not want you to be heard.”
A hearing on the candidacy challenge to produce preliminary evidence was scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed because it still needs to be determined what district will be impacted.
Groups linked to Elias and former Attorney General Eric Holder also filed pre-emptive lawsuits challenging the GOP-led legislature’s congressional and legislative maps even before the maps had been finalized.
If the hearing had taken place, one topic up for discussion was likely to be a definition of “insurrection” and how it applies in specific cases.
“They know it’s undefined, that they’re trying to make it what they want,” Cawthorn told Headline USA.
“They hope they can get a friendly judge in North Carolina to set a precedent and then use that to attack other candidates.”
Cawthorn said his team has a plan for dealing with the assault, but doesn’t want to reveal any strategic options. The main goal, he said, is to ensure a proper precedent is set in defining what is or isn’t so-called insurrectionist speech or action.
“They fire this kind of crap up with anybody else, and we’re going to make sure it gets shot down right away,” Cawthorn said, adding that he’s ready for the fight.
“Trump took the collar off a lot of us and kind of gave us freedom to fight for the rights of our constituents,” he added. “And I’m ready to do that—because they’re not just coming after me, they’re coming after the American people.”