Cawthorn Defends 'Goofy Vacation Photos' Following Lingerie Pics Leak

Representative Madison Cawthorn has defended photos of himself in lingerie that were published by Politico on Friday, and dismissed the pictures as "goofy vacation photos."

The pair of photos appear to show Cawthorn wearing women's underwear at a party, and have garnered both mockery and criticism, with some accusing him of hypocrisy because of his often-expressed conservative Christian views.

The Republican, who represents North Carolina's 11th district and is the youngest member of Congress at 26-years-old, took to Twitter on Friday and seemed to laugh off the pictures.

"I guess the left thinks goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress) is going to somehow hurt me?" Cawthorn wrote.

"They're running out of things to throw at me," he said, and encouraged his followers to share "your most embarrassing vacay pics in the replies."

Cawthorn also shared a link to a May 2020 article from Cruise Critic, a website that reviews cruises.

The article outlined Royal Caribbean's Quest game show and described it as an event that "has you sharing your underwear, putting lipstick on strangers, and screaming at the top of your lungs."

Critics accused Cawthorn of hypocrisy, with some citing his religious beliefs and others his conservative attitude to transgender people. He had tweeted on April 19: "There's only one God and two genders. Get back to common sense!"

While his critics saw tension between those views and his appearance in the photos, Cawthorn replied directly to one charge of hypocrisy from journalist Aaron Rupar.

"My gender didn't change when I put that stuff on. And neither does anyone else's," the Republican tweeted. He also retweeted several Twitter users who had posted to defend him and criticize the Politico article.

A fake statement, attributed to Cawthorn, was also circulating on Twitter as of Saturday morning, but the congressman's office confirmed to Newsweek that it was not genuine.

"The statement did not come from us," a Cawthorn spokesperson said. "It is a fake statement."

Politico's Michael Kruse reported on Friday that the photos had been provided by a person who was formerly close to the Republican and his campaign, and a second person close to Cawthorn had confirmed their origin.

Cawthorn has been in hot water with the House GOP leadership in recent weeks over comments he made about being invited to orgies in Washington, D.C., and seeing people doing cocaine in front of him.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with Cawthorn earlier this month following the claims and later told reporters: "This is unacceptable. There's no evidence to this," adding that Cawthorn had lost his trust.

Madison Cawthorn Speaks at the Capitol
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) speaks during a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol on November 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Cawthorn had dismissed photos of him wearing lingerie as "goofy." Pete Marovich/Getty Images