The first-term representative was defeated in the Republican primary on Tuesday night and will not be returning to Congress
That changed on Thursday, as Mr Cawthorn posted to his social media channels thanking a list of supporters who stood by him “when the Uni-party coalesced to defeat an America First member.” That list included former president Donald Trump, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and the National Rifle Association.
In a longer message on his Instagram account, Mr Cawthorn, who became the youngest ever member of the US House of Representatives when he was sworn into office last year, said that it is time for “for Dark MAGA to truly take command.”
“These are those rare and hated men/women,” Mr Cawthorn wrote of his endorsers.
“There are other National figures who I believe are patriots, but I am on a mission now to expose those who say and promise one thing yet legislate and work towards another, self-profiteering, globalist goal. The time for gentile politics as usual has come to an end.”
Other elected officials Mr Cawthorn thanked included Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Paul Gosar of Arizona — three of the furthest right members of the House Republican caucus. Mr Cawthorn thanked a number of other far right media members as well.
The primary defeat caps an extraordinarily chaotic period of months for the first-term representative, who saw his chances of re-election fall as he was mired in scandal after scandal while many establishment figures in North Carolina rallied around his main challenger Chuck Edwards.
Just this year, Mr Cawthorn called Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and said his government “incredibly evil,” said he’d been invited to orgies by a colleague and seen prominant Washington insiders do cocaine in front of him, and was accused of giving improper benefits to his aides and possibly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with his second cousin.
These were not Mr Cawthorn’s first brushes with scandal. The North Carolina lawmaker was accused of sexual misconduct during the 2020 verkiesing, addressed the crowd that stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and later offered Kyle Rittenhouse, the man who fatally shot two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin during a protest an internship in his office.
Mr Cawthorn’s antics took a toll. Mr Edwards, a member of the state senate, ran as more understated, responsible conservative and racked up endorsements from the likes of Senator Thom Tillis and former Texas governor Rick Perry.
Mr Trump stuck by Mr Cawthorn, but in the end, voters opted narrowly for Mr Edwards and handed him a one-and-a-half percentage point victory on Tuesday night.
Mr Cawthorn now has just over six months left in his term. If his social media conduct on Wednesday is any indication, he will not go quietly.
“We have an enemy to defeat, but we will never be able to defeat them until we defeat the cowardly and weak members of our own party,” he wrote on Instagram. “Their days are numbered. We are coming.”