On January 3, 2021, Madison Cawthorn took the oath of office to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In doing so, he “solemly” swore that he “will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” Having lost his reelection bid in the primary to Rep. Chuck Edwards, Cawthorn’s term ended earlier this month. However, his more than 750,000 constituents of North Carolina’s 11th congressional district are still discovering the extent to which their former representative violated his oath.
Soon after Edwards won the general election on November 8, 2022, Cawthorn appeared to close shop without notice or explanation. With nearly two months remaining in his term, Cawthorn vacated his Washington and district offices. According to a report from the Asheville Citizen Times, not only did Cawthorn clear out his offices as of November 16, but no one remained even to answer phones, leaving constituents without the dedicated connection to the federal government they needed for assistance with issues such as veterans benefits and Social Security.
On that very same day, however, Cawthorn was sure to attend Donald Trump’s reelection announcement at Mar-a-Lago, saying “I want a president who people are terrified of, who’s going to push people out of the way when he’s walking up because he’s the United States of frickin’ America. He represents every single one of us.” In the meantime, Cawthorn effectively stopped representing every single one of his constituents, choosing to informally abandon them rather than resign and let someone who cares about oaths do the job.
It turns out Cawthorn wasn’t even done screwing over his constituents. In a statement early this week, Edwards announced that Cawthorn failed to transfer official casework as part of the transition by the December 23, 2022 deadline. Cawthorn even ignored Edwards’ repeated attempts to request files about constituents with issues still in progress. As a result, Edwards is now asking constituents to contact his office, wasting time and resources cleaning up the mess made by Cawthorn’s egregious desertion.
In a blistering editorial on Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer wrote this latest development is “further evidence that Cawthorn didn’t run for Congress to serve others.” Adding that this is what happens “when you elect unserious candidates who care more about lip service than leadership and legislating,” the Observer pointed out that Republicans finally condemned Cawthorn only because he had become too much of a political liability. North Carolina and America deserve better.