After the video surfaced on social media, Cawthorn tweeted: “A new hit has just fallen on me. Years ago, in this video, I was rude to a friend, trying to be funny. We acted foolishly and made kidding. I’m NOT backing down. I told you there was going to be an IV campaign. Blackmail won’t win. We will.”
CNN has not been able to independently confirm the video. CNN has reached out to Cawthorn for comment.
It is the latest controversy for the 26-year-old, who is running for reelection and is already voting early. The preliminary round will take place on 17 May.
The freshman Republican has some of his colleagues angry and annoyed with a series of antics. Cawthorn became a national figure in 2020 when he defeated the President Donald Trump-backed candidate in the primary to replace then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in Congress. But he has caused some distraction for House Republicans, who are trying to win the majority in November.
Late last month, Cawthorn was subpoenaed for bringing a loaded gun through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at the Charlotte airport. And in February 2021, officers at the Asheville Regional Airport found an unloaded pistol and a loaded magazine in Cawthorn’s carry-on luggage. A Cawthorn spokesperson told the Asheville Citizen-Times when the newspaper ran a story about the July 2021 incident that the congressman “accidentally” brought the gun. Cawthorn was not charged.
In March, Cawthorn caused a stir after claiming on a podcast that people in Washington invited him to participate in orgies and used cocaine for him. The episode prompted members of his own party to consider backing one of his main opponents, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions at the time, amid growing concerns that the North Carolina Republican was dragging the party down with his problematic behaviour. sen. Thom Tillis has thrown his weight behind State Sen. Chuck Edwards in his primary against Cawthorn.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, amid complaints from members over Cawthorn’s allegations, told the freshman lawmaker to get his act together or he could face internal repercussions, and also said Cawthorn admitted the allegations were not true.
“He needs to turn around,” McCarthy told reporters at the time. “I just told him that he has lost my trust, and that he will have to earn it back. I have explained everything I find inappropriate. … He has upset a lot of members. You can’t just make statements there. “
CNN reported that same month that Cawthorn was charged with driving with a revoked driver’s license — the second time he’s faced that charge in the past five years.
He also made negative headlines when a video surfaced in which he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and said the Ukrainian government was “incredibly bad”.
In 2021, CNN reported on a series of sexual misconduct allegations against Cawthorn by women who said he behaved inappropriately towards them during his college days. Cawthorn has denied any allegation.