9/11 First Responder Calls Madison Cawthorn A 'Child' For Cleaning His Gun During Veterans' Affairs Hearing
Representative Madison Cawthorn, a North Carolina Republican, was criticized by a 9/11 first responder after he began cleaning his gun during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.
Lawmakers convened the hearing, held over Zoom, to listen to learn about how uniformed military personnel when standing by burn pits, a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States, such as in Iraq and. Afghanistan.
At least two sources noticed Cawthorn cleaning his gun during testimony from Jen Burch, an Air Force veteran who spent six years serving in Japan and Afghanistan, and images of the moment soon circulated on social media.
Imagine you showed up for a Zoom meeting and a colleague decided that was when he needed to clean his gun. Because that\u2019s what happened today in a Congressional roundtable on toxic exposure. We\u2019re better than this.pic.twitter.com/ePJGKdspfY— Lindsay Church (@Lindsay Church) 1642638560
Speaking to The Daily Beast, John Feal, a 9/11 first responder who was at the virtual meeting, called Cawthorn's actions "immature":
“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."
Rosie Lopez Torres, the cofounder of Burn Pits 360, was angered when she learned what Cawthorn was doing, saying that his actions were disrespectful to veterans who were providing their testimony:
"Oh wow. That is insane. Total disregard and disrespect to America’s war fighters. He was so bored with the topic."
"Those that are sick and dying and the widows in his district should see how much he cares about the issue.”
These criticisms are especially noteworthy because Cawthorn has made a name for himself praising military members for his service.
Cawthorn has also pushed a false narrative about his own military aspirations and has repeatedly claimed that a car accident was responsible for his decision not to attend the Naval Academy, though Washington Post reporters were able to confirm that he was rejected before the accident took place.
Cawthorn's actions have been harshly criticized.
North Carolina should be outraged, embrrassed and ashamed by this man! Is this who they want to represent their state? VOTE HIM OUT!!https://twitter.com/fred_guttenberg/status/1484498568140443651\u00a0\u2026— Kathleen Wallace (@Kathleen Wallace) 1642787705
Daily reminder: Madison Cawthorn does NOT belong in public office. Unworthy of the honor and incapable of carrying out the responsibilities that come along with it.\n\nNorth Carolina is not sending us their best.https://twitter.com/fred_guttenberg/status/1484498568140443651\u00a0\u2026— Russell Drew (@Russell Drew) 1642779780
He needs to grow up, this was so disrespectful. \n\nMadison Cawthorn cleans his gun during a hearing on veterans\u2019 heatlh.https://themindshield.com/madison-cawthorn-cleans-his-gun-during-a-hearing-on-veterans-heatlh/\u00a0\u2026— Covie (@Covie) 1642722265
Hmmmm. Feeling inadequate much? \n\nResign you disgrace.\n\n#ResignCawthorn\n#VetsResist \n#ResistanceUnitedhttps://www.thedailybeast.com/madison-cawthorn-cleans-gun-during-veterans-affairs-hearing\u00a0\u2026— Maddog\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Maddog\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1642740612
Who thinks the right time to clean their gun is in front of a camera during a congressional hearing while veterans are describing the suffering they\u2019ve endured from burn pits?\n\nApparently Madison Cawthorne.https://www.thedailybeast.com/madison-cawthorn-cleans-gun-during-veterans-affairs-hearing\u00a0\u2026— Kaz Weida (@Kaz Weida) 1642733257
A sitting member of the US Congress, 26 year old Madison Cawthorn, not only dip spits during live Zoom meetings but now he\u2019s added cleaning his gun during such meetings. What an absolute disgrace. \n\nHow is this acceptable?@GOPLeader @SpeakerPelosi @CongressEthicshttps://twitter.com/lkmchurch/status/1483959794067247108\u00a0\u2026— S\u03c1\u03c3\u03c3\u0273\u03b9\u04bd N\u03c5\u027e\u0282\u04bd (@S\u03c1\u03c3\u03c3\u0273\u03b9\u04bd N\u03c5\u027e\u0282\u04bd) 1642685018
This was the ultimate level of disrespect to the veterans on the call. Just when you think he has hit rock bottom as a human being,he finds a new way to sink even lower.https://twitter.com/fred_guttenberg/status/1484498568140443651\u00a0\u2026— HNK411 (@HNK411) 1642778821
Small-minded sad pathetic person. Won\u2019t even call him a man. Or as @johnfeal2 says, he\u2019s a child trying to prove he\u2019s a man.https://twitter.com/fred_guttenberg/status/1484498568140443651\u00a0\u2026— Marci Ronik (@Marci Ronik) 1642779381
It's so symbolic it's pathetic....one step away from playing with his penis on camera.https://twitter.com/lkmchurch/status/1483959794067247108\u00a0\u2026— Punkin's Mom\ud83d\ude37\ud83d\ude3b\ud83d\udc15\ud83c\udf31 (@Punkin's Mom\ud83d\ude37\ud83d\ude3b\ud83d\udc15\ud83c\udf31) 1642787995
Cawthorn has a history of unlawfully carrying weapons, as when he sparked controversy when he was accused of bringing a large knife to a school board meeting in his district.
Cawthorn, who appeared at the school board meeting to protest COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates, denied the allegations, saying he didn't "know anything about it."
In February 2021, Cawthorn was stopped at the Asheville Regional Airport after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents discovered an unloaded Glock 9mm handgun and loaded magazine in Cawthorn's carry-on luggage.
Cawthorn's gun was confiscated. He was allowed to retrieve it when he returned to Asheville.