Where Things Stand: Cawthorn Skips Debate After Being Forced To Admit He Doesn’t Know What Cocaine Is

This is your TPM evening briefing.
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 1: Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on December 1, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Look, It is hardly the most consequential detail of the entire storyline, but it is the most brutal — and hilarious — to me.

Imagine being one of the youngest members of Congress so desperate for attention that you go on a podcast and claim that your colleagues are endlessly inviting you to sex parties and doing cocaine in front of you — effectively pissing the entire Republican Party off so much that they dare you to name names. And then when you can’t/don’t, imagine being forced to have a chat with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), where you not only have to admit you were a bit hyperbolic on the podcast, but that the person you claimed to see doing cocaine was actually a staffer (not a colleague) who was doing something that looked like cocaine snorting in a parking garage — but you’re not totally sure because said person was a football field distance away from you.

And if all that isn’t humiliating enough, imagine McCarthy has to do damage control for you, telling reporters that you acknowledged to him in private that you … might not actually know what cocaine is.

The whole thing is purely and simply delicious.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

It’s all been an incredibly life-giving storyline for those of us burnt out by what it means to care about politics these days; a gift that is still giving in the form of a small update: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is reportedly skipping the first debate post-cocaine/orgy drama.

According to the Asheville Citizen Times, Cawthorn will not be attending tonight’s Republican debate at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. Organizers told the Citizen Times they were expecting all eight candidates running for Cawthorn’s seat, including Cawthorn, to be in attendance.

His campaign is claiming the decision to skip has to do with Cawthorn’s hectic schedule, as he juggles his work in Washington with reelection campaign efforts back home.

Per the Citizen Times:

Cawthorn spokesperson Luke Ball said there were more than 10 debates scheduled and the congressman had committed to two. He might do “a couple” more but was not planning to attend the Agricultural Center event, Ball said.

“We want to do at least a couple more, and so we’re trying to figure out how to balance it with obviously needing to be in D.C. for some things, having to take care of some district meetings and things like that.”

But it comes at a crucial, dare I say, vital, time for his campaign. While Cawthorn likely earned some extra credit with Trump supporters following his appearance at Trump’s “Save America Rally” over the weekend, it’s unclear how much sway that will actually have with primary voters once Republicans are done dragging him through the mud for daring to turn a conspiracy theory on one of their own.

Cawthorn’s cocaine and sex party allegations have prompted some prominent Republicans, like Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), to back one of his primary challengers in the midterms, North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R). Edwards also recently was endorsed by the powerful law enforcement union, the Police Benevolent Association.

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

Sign up for TPM’s weekend newsletter here: The Weekender: A Hard-Fought Victory

And sign up for our voting rights newsletter here: A Fake Trump Elector Has Rewritten Arizona’s Election Laws

Jan. 6 Panel Member: ‘Shocking’ Findings Show How Close Insurrectionists Were To Success

Updated: If Roe Is Overturned, Many States Will Outlaw Abortions At Once

Colorado GOP Faithful Overwhelmingly Support Tina Peters’ Candidacy

Colorado Republican Party Backs 2020 Election Denier For Senate

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Trumpworld Implodes Over Ex-POTUS’ Endorsement Of Dr. Oz — Summer Concepcion

What We Are Reading

The Red State–Blue State Scramble to Replace Roe — Rebecca Traister

Distraught over orders to investigate trans kids’ families, Texas child welfare workers are resigning — Eleanor Klibanoff

Opinion | The Texas woman arrested for an abortion is a harbinger of what’s to come —  Paul Waldman

Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: