North Carolina Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn was criticized by a prominent group of United States military veterans after Cawthorn suggested Congress should spend "$40 billion on veterans."
Cawthorn, writing on Twitter, was using veterans to lob criticism at Congress for approving $40 billion in aid to Ukraine as it continues to fend off Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces in an invasion that is now in its third month.
Imagine if we spent $40 Billion on veterans.— Rep. Madison Cawthorn (@Rep. Madison Cawthorn) 1652280600
But Cawthorn's remark soon caught the attention of VoteVets, a political action committee (PAC) and 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that promotes progressive solutions to issues like housing, hunger and healthcare and is dedicated to electing veterans to public office.
VoteVets pointed out Cawthorn's voting record betrays any support he publicly claims he wants to provide veterans.
The organization said Cawthorn "even voted against expanding care for those exposed to burn pits," referring to a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You vote against Veterans EVERY CHANCE YOU GET. You even voted against expanding care for those exposed to burn pits. DON'T EVEN pretend you care about Veterans. NO. STOP IT.https://twitter.com/RepCawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— VoteVets (@VoteVets) 1652289766
Indeed, earlier this year, Cawthorn was criticized by a 9/11 first responder when Cawthorn began cleaning his gun during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing about burn pit exposures.
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.
Cawthorn ultimately voted against House Resolution 3967, titled the Honoring our PACT ACT, which addressed the health care of veterans who were exposed to "toxic substances during military service."
VoteVets later shared some facts about Cawthorn and the GOP, saying Republicans "may say they respect veterans, but their voting records prove otherwise."
Quick reminder that Republicans may say they respect Veterans, but their voting records prove otherwise.pic.twitter.com/WSs99up4pW— VoteVets (@VoteVets) 1652299544
The organization went even further with its criticisms of Cawthorn after he followed up his initial tweet with a suggestion the United States should not provide foreign aid until "we finish the Wall," a reference to former President Donald Trump's proposed border wall along our nation's southern border.
VotVets said "insurrectionists" like Cawthorn "should receive consequences for your action," a direct criticism of Cawthorn's support for the mob of Trump supporters who attacked the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Here\u2019s a thought:\n\nInsurrectionists like you should receive consequences for your actions.https://twitter.com/cawthornfornc/status/1524793207002910721\u00a0\u2026— VoteVets (@VoteVets) 1652385402
Others have echoed VoteVets' criticisms.
Congress just passed a bill that will spend nearly $250 billion on veterans sickened by exposure to burn pits, and you voted against it.https://twitter.com/repcawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— Matthew Chapman (@Matthew Chapman) 1652384117
And here it is again.\n\nThis one exponentially more hypocritical because he literally just voted AGAINST health benefits for Veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.https://twitter.com/RepCawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— \ud835\udc09\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc2b\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc26\ud835\udc32 \ud83d\udc99 \ud835\udc13\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc31\ud835\udc1a\ud835\udc2c \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@\ud835\udc09\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc2b\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc26\ud835\udc32 \ud83d\udc99 \ud835\udc13\ud835\udc1e\ud835\udc31\ud835\udc1a\ud835\udc2c \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1652318959
North Carolina, we can do better than this dumbass. @RepCawthorn you're on the House Veterans Affairs Committee you should know the budget is $301B. It's time to elect #veterans who have served our county. This is why I'm supporting #amryveteran @JayCareyNC for Congress in #nc11https://twitter.com/RepCawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— Scott Huffman for NC \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Scott Huffman for NC \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1652363981
Didn\u2019t you *just* vote against benefits for veterans?https://twitter.com/repcawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— jessica\ud83e\udee7 (@jessica\ud83e\udee7) 1652373101
Imagine if you didn\u2019t vote against health care for veterans exposed to burn pits.https://twitter.com/repcawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— Max Rose (@Max Rose) 1652322148
In March, Cawthorn voted against a bill to provide $20 billion per year to veterans exposed to toxins during their servicehttps://twitter.com/RepCawthorn/status/1524401442999652353\u00a0\u2026— Lachlan Markay (@Lachlan Markay) 1652356265
Cawthorn has often attempted to publicly align himself with the military despite all evidence to the contrary.
He has often been scrutinized for pushing 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.