Kevin McCarthy says he rebuked Madison Cawthorn over 'orgy' tale

Octavio Jones

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., met with first-term Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., on Wednesday about his claims of colleagues using drugs and inviting him to a "sexual get-together."

McCarthy said he told Cawthorn that "I lost my trust in him" because of the salacious claims and that there "could be" consequences as a result. He didn't specify what those consequences could be.

A source with knowledge of the meeting told NBC News that Cawthorn failed to provide any evidence of the sex and drugs allegations that have outraged his colleagues and that McCarthy warned him he would have to earn his trust back.

Cawthorn made the allegations during an interview last week on the podcast Warrior Poet Society, after he was asked whether his experience in Washington, D.C., was like the scandalous Netflix show "House of Cards."

Cawthorn then dove into a monologue about "the sexual perversion that goes on in Washington" and said some of his older colleagues had invited him to orgies.

"I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 to 70, and I 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 — then all of a sudden you get invited," Cawthorn said, quoting one such alleged exchange.

"'Oh, hey, we're going to have kind of a sexual get-together at one of our homes. You should come.' I'm like, 'What did you just ask me to come to?' Then you realize they're asking you to come to an orgy," Cawthorn said.

He then continued talking about "the fact there are some of the people leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country, and then you watch them do a key bump of cocaine right in front of you. And you're like, 'This is wild.'"

The comments upset many of Cawthorn's House Republican colleagues, who expressed their frustration to McCarthy in a meeting on Tuesday, Politico reported.

McCarthy told Axios that Cawthorn acknowledged his claims were "exaggerated."

“In the interview, he claims he watched people do cocaine. Then when he comes in he tells me, he says he thinks he saw maybe a staffer in a parking garage from 100 yards away,” McCarthy said.

Cawthorn declined to comment after the meeting, saying, "We're not doing interviews today." His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McCarthy's remarks.

The 26-year-old North Carolina congressman is a close ally of former President Donald Trump who spoke at the Jan. 6 rally before the riot at the U.S. Capitol and has continued promoting Trump's phony election fraud claims since.

Cawthorn was rebuked publicly by McCarthy earlier this month after he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "a thug" whose government "is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies."

"Madison is wrong," McCarthy said then. Asked if he would still support his re-election bid, McCarthy said, "Yes."