“Never a dull moment” is a nice way of describing life in Washington D.C., the seat of political power in the United States. Members of Congress and lobbyists know that in every meeting they go to and every time they express an opinion, someone is taking note, even if just mentally. And that someday – perhaps in five years’ time or in a quarter of a century – a salacious headline will appear that will cause a media furor, however briefly.
Today the furor is over Madison Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress at 26 years of age, who has spoken out about the dark underbelly of the US Capitol. During an interview on the podcast Warrior Poet Society, the Republican was asked whether the TV show House of Cards, a political thriller that tracks the corrupt politician Frank Underwood, who is willing to do anything for power, was more like fiction or a documentary.
The congressman replied: “The only thing that’s not accurate in that show is that you could never get a piece of legislation about education passed that quickly.”
According to Cawthorn, who has been in a wheelchair since a 2014 traffic accident, unnamed members of Congress have propositioned him to join an orgy, while leaders of the war against drugs routinely do cocaine.
“[You] look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life, I’ve always paid attention to politics,” he said on the YouTube podcast. “Then all of a sudden you get invited – ‘We’re going to have a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.’ What did you just ask me to come to? And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy.”
He also recalled seeing leaders of “the movement to try and remove addiction in our country” doing a “bump of cocaine” in front of him.
The comments of the 26-year-old, who has only been in Congress for 14 months, have sent shockwaves through the Republican Party. Scott Perry, the leader of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, to which Cawthorn also belongs, has demanded the representative for North Carolina identify the individuals who allegedly invited him to an orgy and took drugs in his presence. While Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader of the House, said the congressman had “lost his trust.”
Cawthorn is no stranger to controversy. Since his election, he has triggered a large number of political storms. The most recent concerned his comments over Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy, who he described as a “thug.” The slogan on his website reads “Faith. Family. Freedom,” and a quote from Madison promises: “We are sending a weapon to Washington, D.C. to end this political divisiveness, to bring America back to what it once was.”