McCarthy: Cawthorn ‘lost my confidence’ after orgy and cocaine comments

Cawthorn infuriated large parts of his own conference when he recently claimed on a podcast that his colleagues apparently invited him to an orgy and that he saw at least one co-legislator consume cocaine, claiming the same member was involved in the anti-addiction efforts. And it’s just the latest installment in a series of controversial comments Cawthorn has made.

“Many different things can happen. But I just told him he’s lost my trust. He’s going to have to earn it back,” McCarthy said when asked if Cawthorn could have repercussions for his actions, including losing his committee positions. “I mean, he has a lot of members very upset.”

During their private conversation, McCarthy said he pointed out “certain things” Cawthorn needed to start doing professionally and “including in his own life.” And he’s not ignoring more meetings with the freshman lawmaker, saying there could be “very well” more talks with Cawthorn as GOP leaders assess “what actions are being taken by him.”

“You can’t make statements like that as a member of Congress, it affects everyone and the country as a whole,” McCarthy added.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in an interview that, during their meeting with Cawthorn, the two top House GOP leaders “expressed real concern about some of the things he’s been doing recently. And of course the ball is in his court in terms of how to react. But we were very clear with the concerns we had – and with many other members as well.”

McCarthy had sworn to GOP members behind closed doors that he would talk to the freshmen about his comments, POLITICO first reported Tuesday. Scalise also attended the Wednesday morning meeting.

It was a remarkable dress-up by a Republican leader who at other times seemed content to leave troublesome members alone. McCarthy was pressured to address a new controversy within his ranks several weeks ago when Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) attended an event led by a well-known celebrity. white nationalist. McCarthy was less critical of Greene’s behavior, saying he’d met the rocket from Georgia on the matter and she wouldn’t do it again. It is unclear whether he met Gosar.

In addition to the orgy cocaine claims, McCarthy also cited Cawthorn calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “thug” as problematic. In addition, Cawthorn had caused another controversy when he lied to an officer in the Capitol, saying that GOP congressional candidate Robby Starbuck was one of his staffers to take him to the House. In addition, McCarthy said it is unacceptable for a member of Congress to be caught driving without a license after failing to appear in court.

And McCarthy had some information for Republican lawmakers who have also called on Cawthorn to name names. The GOP leader said Cawthorn described the cocaine incident differently than he did in the podcast. Rather than a lawmaker, Cawthorn told McCarthy that he believes “he thinks he may have seen a staffer in a parking garage maybe 100 yards away,” and that Cawthorn told him “he doesn’t know what cocaine is.”

“It’s just frustrating. There is no evidence behind his statements,” McCarthy said.

It may not be Cawthorn’s last meeting on the subject. House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told POLITICO in an interview on Wednesday that he plans to discuss the matter with Cawthorn as more than one of the ultra-conservative members in the group has rattled on him. would kick out of the caucus. His departure is still considered unlikely.

The comments angered Cawthorn and… opprobrium across the House GOP, including regular members who often remain silent amid major political firestorms.

Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) suggested he wouldn’t be happy if the conversation with GOP leaders ended with a simple promise from Cawthorn that he would stop making such comments or suggestions, noting that he has repeatedly caused headaches. for the GOP conference.

“Depends on what the outcome of the meeting was,” Womack said in an interview. “If it’s, ‘Hey, don’t do that again.’ We’ve been there. That hasn’t worked. Honestly, if western North Carolina doesn’t solve the problem, the leadership will have to.”

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