Cawthorn to introduce resolution condemning political violence after warning of ‘bloodshed’ if elections are ‘rigged’
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) said Wednesday that he is introducing a resolution to broadly condemn political violence after he faced backlash earlier in the week for warning of potential “bloodshed” if elections “continue to be rigged” while describing the people jailed after allegedly attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 as “political hostages.”
Cawthorn’s resolution, which is expected to be formally introduced during a House pro forma session later this week, states that “political violence in any form must be condemned” and that “Americans’ political will is expressed at the ballot box through secure and safe elections.”
“It is the sense of the House of Representatives that political violence, violent speech, and inciteful language have no place in our political discourse and should be wholly condemned,” the resolution concludes.
The resolution marks Cawthorn’s latest effort to address the response to remarks over the weekend that were posted to Facebook by the Macon County Republican Party.
“If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, it’s gonna lead to one place, and it’s bloodshed,” Cawthorn said. “And I will tell you, as much as I’m willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there’s nothing that I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American. And the way that we can have recourse against that is if we all passionately demand that we have election security in all 50 states.”
The first-term lawmaker has since maintained that he was trying to discourage violence.
“Political violence in America is never acceptable, and I warned in my comments that elections must be secure so others do not erroneously choose that path of violence,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Cawthorn’s attempts to clarify his remarks came after he faced condemnation from fellow lawmakers — mostly Democrats — who expressed concern given that supporters of former President Trump attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 based on the erroneous belief that President Biden’s election victory was illegitimate.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office accused Cawthorn of “calling for another January 6th-style attack” in a statement on Tuesday.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), one of the two Republicans tapped by Pelosi to serve on the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, tweeted in response to Cawthorn, “This is insane. Based on a total lie. This must stop.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), meanwhile, has yet to address the remarks.
Cawthorn called on Pelosi to co-sponsor his resolution and claimed his words were taken out of context by a “left-wing media hit job.”
“She dangerously and deliberately chose to mischaracterize my comments as violent speech when I clearly called for violence not to occur. If she is seeking to condemn violent speech, rhetoric and actions, she should look no further than in her own party,” he said.
Cawthorn’s resolution specifically cites remarks from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who told a crowd in 2017 that she would “go and take out Trump tonight,” and Biden, who said in 2018 that he would “beat the hell” out of Trump if they were in high school over his lewd comments about grabbing women.
Cawthorn continued to echo false claims about the 2020 election during his appearance over the weekend, stating that “anybody who tells you that Joe Biden was dutifully elected is lying.”
When an attendee asked Cawthorn what he was doing to “support” people charged with crimes related to Jan. 6 who are currently in law enforcement custody, he went on to describe them as “political hostages” and “political prisoners.”
“The big problem is we don’t actually know where all the political prisoners are,” Cawthorn said. “And so if we were to actually be able to go and try and bust them out — and let me tell you, the reason why they’re taking these political prisoners is because they’re trying to make an example, because they don’t want to see the mass protests going on in Washington.”
Cawthorn’s spokesman later clarified that he only “wants due process for the prisoners” and “was not advocating for any form of illegal action, only that they receive full due process.”
Other House Republicans have similarly cast people currently in jail for Jan. 6-related crimes as “political prisoners” and expressed concern that they are being treated too harshly in confinement.
Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (Texas) tried to visit the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections in late July to view “the conditions of the January 6th prisoners” but were turned away by the facility’s officers.