North Carolina Paper Slams Madison Cawthorn, State GOP for Enabling Him

A North Carolina newspaper's editorial board on Sunday slammed state Representative Madison Cawthorn and the state's GOP for embracing extremism.

Cawthorn, who represents a western district of the state, most recently faced criticism for his remarks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but has been a divisive figure within the GOP since his 2020 election and has long faced criticism for his stances.

The Durham Herald-Sun editorial called out the congressman, as well as North Carolina's Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, who has been previously condemned for his use of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

"In so many respects, they define what the North Carolina Republican Party has become: a party of extremism. A party that, despite everything, has stood by former President Donald Trump," the editorial reads.

The editorial chastised the state party for not doing more to condemn controversial statements by the two lawmakers, while dismissing anonymous reports that some Republicans are silently displeased with Cawthorn as "too late to reclaim the moral high ground."

Some among the GOP have criticized Cawthorn, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, who also represents North Carolina. He tweeted earlier this week: "If your comments are being replayed over and over by Russian state propaganda outlets..." in response to a video of Cawthorn's comments being played on Russian state TV.

However, many others in the Republican Party remained quiet on Cawthorn's remarks.

The editorial also digs into the GOP for embracing lawmakers like Cawthorn and Robinson, accusing the party of giving "their most radical members the tools to dismantle democracy."

"They were silent when people like Cawthorn peddled election fraud conspiracies. They were silent when he warned of 'bloodshed' if elections continue to be 'rigged.' And when Robinson repeatedly disparaged the LGBTQ+ community? Yep, you guessed it—nothing," the editorial reads.

It also accused the party of reprimanding only "those who challenge the Trumpified status quo," including state Senator Richard Burr, who voted "guilty" against former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial. After he voted against Trump, the state's GOP's central committee voted unanimously to censure him.

The editorial was not the first time a North Carolina newspaper took aim at Cawthorn. Last week, The Winston-Salem Journal also criticized him for calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a "thug" and "evil"—and also accused him of pushing "woke ideologies"—amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Newsweek reached out to spokespersons for Cawthorn, Robinson and the North Carolina Republican Party on Sunday morning. This story will be updated with any response.

Madison Cawthorn criticized by North Carolina newspaper
The Durham Herald Sun slammed Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn, above in Orlando in February 2021, and the North Carolina GOP in an editorial Sunday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images