Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn told a Turning Point USA crowd last month to 'lightly threaten' lawmakers if they didn't support claims of voter fraud

Kelly McLaughlin
Newly elected U.S. Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather by the White House ahead of Trump's speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 presidential election in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.
Newly elected U.S. Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather by the White House ahead of Trump's speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 presidential election in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn told a crowd at a Turning Point USA event last month to "lightly threaten" lawmakers if they didn't support claims of voter fraud made against the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

The lawmaker from North Carolina made the comments on December 21, a little over three weeks before rioters who supported President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers debated the Electoral College vote and President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 election win.

"Call your congressman and feel free, you can lightly threaten them and say, you know what, if you don't start supporting election integrity, I'm coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you, everybody's coming after you," Cawthorn had said at the event, which was first flagged by The Charlotte Observer.

Weeks later during the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington DC that descended into the riot at the Capitol in which five people died, Cawthorn spoke about an hour before Trump and told the crowd it has "some fight in it."

"The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans, hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice. Make no mistake about it, they do not want you to be heard," he said. "But my friends, when I look out into this crowd, I can confidently say, this crowd has the voice of lions. There is a new Republican Party on the rise that will represent this country, that will go and fight in Washington, DC."

He also called his colleagues "cowards" during the speech.

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Cawthorn later denounced the violence at the Capitol as it was happening on January 6, asking rioters to protest peacefully, and "let the objections continue in accordance with the constitution."

On January 7, he said the riot "wasn't patriotism it was thuggery."

He told Raleigh's ABC11 he believed Trump had some responsibility for the riot.

"I think when the president said we're going to march down to the Capitol and I'm going to march with you, that was a major mistake," he said. "He never should've directed that crowd toward the Capitol. The bad outcome was destined at that point."

Cawthorn did still, however, vote against Biden winning the Electoral vote.

He's also still selling "Cry More, Lib" T-shirts on his website, in reference to a tweet he made after winning the general election in November.

A group of Democratic officials in North Carolina have criticized Cawthorn's actions, saying he should be expelled from Congress.

They wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week asking Cawthorn to be "held accountable for his seditious behavior and for the consequences resulting from said behavior."

In a statement to Insider, a spokesperson for Cawthorn said: "The threat of a primary challenge is not a call for violence and the media knows that."

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