It’s been quite a bad week for Madison Cawthorn, the toothy far-right Republican and 25-year-old candidate for Congress who’s been billed as a rising star in his party. As Jezebel reported, a rather large group of his former classmates and alumni from the small private Christian university he attended before dropping out his freshman year recently alleged in an open letter that he was a sexual predator, with a reputation during his brief time on campus for making unwanted sexual advances towards women.
And now, he’s being forced to clarify why his campaign created a website ostensibly about his opponent, the Democrat Moe Davis, that included a racist attack on both a journalist who wrote critically about Cawthorn as well as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. The site painted the reporter as someone who “quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males” and Cory Booker as someone “who aims to ruin white males running for office.”
As first reported by the Bulwark, and later picked up by the New York Times, in one section the website called out Tom Fiedler, a Pulitzer Prize-winning long-time reporter who now writes for the North Carolina-based website AVLWatchdog, and who has written several articles that cast a critical light on Cawthorn.
Here’s the original text of the website, via the Wayback Machine:
It read: “Tom Fieldler who works with Moe Davis’ advocates, is working to tear down Madison Cawthorn,” before writing that “he quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.”
I would just like to point out the obvious, which is that this is so racist, and it certainly lends credence to the idea that Cawthorn may have sympathy for white nationalist ideas. According to Cawthorn and his campaign, I guess a white man working for a man of color is a race traitor! As for the bit about Booker, I confess I have no idea what exactly is the logic behind that statement. Does Cawthorn believe that Booker, by the very fact of being a Black man in higher office, is taking away a spot that should have gone to a white man? I guess dog whistles are no longer in vogue in the Republican Party, and the new move is to just be explicitly racist!
After the Bulwark reported on Cawthorn’s racist website, his racist website was subsequently edited to both correct the misspelling of Fiedler’s name and to take out any references to “white males,” though it still claims that Fiedler is working with Davis’s campaign. It now reads that Fiedler is a “political operative” and “is an unapologetic defender of left-wing identity politics,” though I should also point out that Fiedler is a journalist, and not a Davis campaign operative.
Cawthorn issued a statement in which he weirdly painted the racist language on his campaign’s attack site as a “syntax error.” He helpfully clarified that he didn’t mean to criticize Booker for “ruin[ing] white males running for office” despite those being the exact words he used, he just meant to criticize Fiedler for wanting to work for someone who was not white. Thanks for that update!
And of course, Cawthorn threw in every racist’s favorite excuse—he can’t be racist because he loves to quote Martin Luther King Jr.
In July, Cawthorn claimed that Democrats are the actual racists, for supporting programs like affirmative action. Cawthorn has also stated in interviews that the Black Lives Matter movement has been “hijacked by Marxists,” that one of the biggest problem facing Black communities is “fatherless homes,” and that reparations lead to a “victimhood mentality” and that Black people aren’t owed anything because “we [paid] enough when 600,000 Americans died to free slaves.”