Rep. Madison Cawthorn slammed for cleaning gun during hearing, trolls say ‘needs to grow up’

During a virtual Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, the Congressman was caught cleaning his gun, furious attendee calls him 'immature'


                            Rep. Madison Cawthorn slammed for cleaning gun during hearing, trolls say ‘needs to grow up’
Madison Cawthorn addresses the virtual RNC meeting on August 26, 2020 (Republican National Committee/Getty Images)

Rep. Madison Cawthorn clearly had better things to do than pay attention to a committee hearing he was elected to attend. On January 19, the North Carolina Congressman decided to clean his gun while attending a virtual Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, drawing widespread criticism. Social media users were left even angrier when they found out that the hearing was regarding US soldiers being harmed by toxic chemicals. 

The Republican is no stranger to controversy, having put himself in the limelight several times during his relatively short stint in Congress. In December 2021, he was embroiled in a sexual assault controversy from his time at Patrick Henry College. The allegations are rumored to have played a part in his divorce from Cristina Bayardelle, just eight months after they got married. 

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A vocal advocate of gun rights, Cawthorn found himself being slammed back in June 2021, after he defended the Second Amendment on Newsmax, and made a bizarre comparison to the Viet Cong and the war in Vietnam. Now, he took his love for guns to a rather literal next level, leading many to accuse him of putting them ahead of US soldiers.

US Rep. Madison Cawthorn addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021, in Orlando, Florida (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 

Cawthorn cleans gun

On January 19, the House Veterans Affairs Committee was holding a hearing on how burn pits are harming military service members. Reportedly, the pits are used in combat zones like Afghanistan and Iraq to dispose of trash by burning, a task usually handed out to low-ranking soldiers that results in heart, lung, and digestive ailments. The meeting ran for around three hours with testimony from veterans and advocacy groups. 

During that time, the Congressman "worked on his pistol out of sight for several minutes," but then appeared in front of the camera when a US Air Force veteran was speaking. Since it was a private Zoom call, videos of Cawthorn's actions are not available but were instead made public first by one of the attendees Lindsay Church, who tweeted, "Imagine you showed up for a Zoom meeting and a colleague decided that was when he needed to clean his gun. Because that’s what happened today in a Congressional roundtable on toxic exposure. We’re better than this."

 



 

 

Several attendees then confirmed what Cawthorn was up to in an interview with The Daily Beast. "It was immature. He’s a child. He lacks common sense. I think the congressman was overcompensating for something that he lacks and feeling inadequate among the heroes on that call," John Feal, a 9/11 first responder, told the website. An edited version of the meeting is up on YouTube, where Cawthorn is conspicuously absent till about two and a half hours in, where he raises a question. He hasn't responded to the controversy yet, and his spokesperson told The Beast, "What could possibly be more patriotic than guns and veterans?"

'Behold the epitome of the GOP'

Social media though was having none of it and quickly got to work slamming the Congressman. "He needs to grow up, this was so disrespectful," one person tweeted. Another slammed, "Rep. Madison Cawthorn Cleans Gun During Veterans Hearing. Cawthorn is a disgrace to Congress and the country. This is how the GOP really feels about veterans. What a child." Another slammed the response to the controversy, tweeting, "Cawthorn’s official response: “What could possibly be more patriotic than guns and veterans?” Uh, listening to veterans made tragically sick by reckless army policy and then doing something about it?"

 



 



 



 

 

"Hmmmm. Feeling inadequate much? Resign you disgrace," one person slammed. Another trolled, "I thought masturbation on work calls wasn't allowed?" One user responded, "This pic exudes toughness…behold the epitome of the GOP."

 



 



 



 

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