Friday, September 17, 2021

Trump Lite

At first, it might appear that freshman North Carolina congressman Matthew Cawthorn is merely ignorant.

Cawthorn has claimed that George Washington was 21 when he received his first military commission, though he was 22, and that Abraham Lincoln initially was 22 when he first ran for office, though he was 23.

Those seem like simple, trivial errors. Cawthorn attributed the famous John Adams quote "facts are stubborn things" to Thomas Jefferson, inaccurately referred to James Madison as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and told Jewish Insider that Congress authorized the Emancipation Proclamation, though it was the handiwork solely of President Lincoln.

Cawthornalso  has claimed that George Washington was 21 when he received his first military commission, though he was 22, and that Abraham Lincoln initially was 22 when he first ran for office, though he was 23.

At first glance, they seem to be errors born of ignorance without being self-serving. But now there is this:

Constitutional scholar Madison Cawthorn says it would be illegal for airlines to require vaccines because, “you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.”

Not in the United States Constitution and it's a safe bet it's not in North Carolina's document, either. One of the best responses to Cawthorn's ludicrous remark came from someone identifying as "TheSheaKitten," who tweeted "Free, unrestricted travel huh? WTF is a drivers license for then? Why can't 13 year olds drive? Why aren't toll roads unconstitutional? Why do you need to register boats? Snowmobiles?" Another: "I hereby invoke the Constitution to bring back my right to bring a full shampoo bottle, water, and have actual silverware when I’m lucky enough to fly business or first."

Generously speaking, vaccination has come under attack by the Republican Party because it is supported by Joe Biden, a Democratic President.   Unlike Barack Obama, Biden is white but like Obama, he plays for the other team, Team America.

Arguing a constitutionally protected right to travel anywhere, anytime, serves an ideological purpose for Cawthorn and his fellow travelers and he presumably is aware it is false. Similarly, according to the (Asheville, NC) Citizen Times, as he was running for the office he currently holds

“Madison was homeschooled in Hendersonville and was nominated to the Naval Academy by Rep. Mark Meadows in 2014,” according to the 11th District candidate’s website. “However, Madison’s plans were derailed that year after he nearly died in a tragic automobile accident that left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair.”   

But in a 2017 sworn deposition obtained by AVL Watchdog, Cawthorn admitted his application to the academy had already been rejected before the crash. The campaign did not comment, despite repeated requests over several days.

The Naval Academy reference is a key part of the 25-year-old’s public portrait, featuring prominently in his campaign speeches and interviews. Cawthorn is careful to say he was nominated and that his plans were “derailed” by the crash, two statements that when taken together create the impression he was headed to Annapolis to attend the prestigious academy were it not for the 2014 crash.

Cawthorn's admission came after the election. And as the CitizenTimes notes

he has not publicly corrected the misimpression that he would have entered the academy in the class of 2018 were it not for the auto crash. Nor has he attempted to correct many TV interviewers who, in their introductions, often repeat the phrase that his aspiration was “derailed” by his injuries.   

His campaign website and Instagram page include a photo of Cawthorn wearing a Navy sweatshirt and another of him participating in a training exercise with others, all in the group wearing military fatigues and inflatable jackets pulling boats onto a beach. Cawthorn calls the group “my squad.”

The lying is not random.  Even the Lincoln & Washington fibs had their purpose. At that time Cawthorn, making his first run for public office, had the same month turned a mere 21 years of age. While a little ignorant and fairly immature, Madison Cawthorn has been making a sustained bid to succeed Donald Trump as Supreme Liar of the Republican Party.

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