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.
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.
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."
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.
Others have echoed VoteVets' criticisms.
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.