Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) announced Thursday that he has joined the House Freedom Caucus, banding together with the group of firebrand Republicans less than a year into his tenure in Congress.
Cawthorn, in a statement announcing the move, said he is joining the group of ultra-conservative lawmakers to “defend the will of the American people.”
“Liberty and freedom must be defended in the People’s House by patriots who are unafraid to challenge the status quo and stand for what is right. I ran to change the way Congress does business. That means upholding promises made to the American people, not selling out to the Swamp,” Cawthorn said.
“Although I have only been in Washington for a short period of time, I have learned that the fighters must stand together and defend America. I’m proud to join the Freedom Caucus, and I will work relentlessly to defend the will of the American people who sent us to Washington to fight for them,” he added.
The news was first reported by Politico.
The freshman lawmaker was elected in November to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official Fauci 'not aware' Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before 2020 debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump's pre-debate COVID-19 test sparks criticism MORE (R-N.C.), a founding member and former chairman of the Freedom Caucus who departed Congress to travel down Pennsylvania Avenue and work in the White House as chief of staff to then-President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE.
Meadows and Trump, however, had endorsed real estate agent and local GOP activist Lynda Bennett to fill the seat.
Cawthorn became the youngest member of Congress when he took office in January at age 25.
He became a controversial figure on the campaign trail after photos from his Instagram page posted in 2017 were discovered, showing him visiting a German country home utilized by Adolf Hitler and Nazi officials that was referred to as the “Eagle’s Nest.” Cawthorn said visiting the facility was an item “on my bucket list for awhile.”
He said he wanted to visit the site in the context of it being the location where U.S. soldiers celebrated the Allies’ victory after World War II.
The controversy surrounding Cawthorn has deepened since he arrived in Washington. The freshman representative called Jan. 6 rioters “political hostages” in August, has taken a strong stance against vaccine mandates, and previously said he wants to “prosecute” top infectious disease specialist Antony Fauci.
He also voted to overturn the Electoral College vote for the 2020 presidential election in January.
The House Freedom Caucus was founded in 2015 and has since become a coalition on Capitol Hill made up of firebrand conservatives. Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Jim Jordan reveals he had COVID-19 this summer The Memo: Gosar censured, but toxic culture grows MORE (R-Ohio) and Meadows helped establish the group, and served as its first two chairs.
Rep. Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanLawmakers increasingly anxious about US efforts against Russian hackers GOP seeks oversight hearing with Kerry on climate diplomacy House Freedom Caucus elects Rep. Scott Perry as new chairman MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the caucus, told Politico that Cawthorn has “proven himself.”