Recently vanquished and scandal-plagued Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn is raising a lot of eyebrows online after he shared videos of his recent birthday celebration at a tactical training shoot house.
Sure, he also shared videos of him having fancy cocktails and photos of him celebrating with family. But it was the military-style, simulated mercenary killing exercises that seem to have been the highlight.
See his videos shared to Instagram below.
The video shows Cawthorn armed with a handgun and two friends armed with assault rifles roving through a so-called "shoot house"—tactical training facilities that have sprung up all over the country in recent years.
Cawthorn captioned the videos:
“One heck of a birthday weekend! Best friends and the best family. Washington, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida all ensured a very eventful and fun birthday. Back to work now.”
Given Cawthorn was fired from his job in Congress by Republican voters in the North Carolina primary in May, "back to work now" seems a bit ominous in this context. Back to work at... what, exactly?
Tactical training facilities with "shoot houses" like the one Cawthorn visited, sometimes known as "fun houses," give civilians opportunities to train in military- and police-style exercises, often alongside current or former police and military personnel.
The facilities, and the tactical gear required for their exercises, are immensely popular on the right, including with militias like the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and Boogaloo Boys who were instrumental parts of the January 6 insurrection.
Tactical training was a key component of the insurrectionists' breach of the Capitol that day, and the militia members who plotted to kidnap and execute Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer trained in a shoot house like the one Cawthorn visited.
Given after losing his reelection primary in May, Cawthorn issued a thinly veiled threat of violence, some on Twitter were a touch unnerved by his birthday videos.
But of course some couldn't help but laugh at the absurd commando cosplay of it all--and at how bad Cawthorn and his friends seemed to be at the techniques they were practicing.
Seems like maybe Cawthorn better not quit his day job, whatever that is nowadays.