Speed Reads

white lies

Kevin McCarthy says Cawthorn lied about D.C. orgies. Others doubt claim he 'doesn't know what cocaine is.'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) sat down with Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) on Wednesday to grill him about his claims he was invited to orgies and witnessed anti-addiction crusaders "do a key bump of cocaine right in front of you" — and Cawthorn's responses were apparently not very credible.

"There's no evidence to this," McCarthy told Axios after his meeting with Cawthorn. "He changes what he tells," and "he did not tell the truth," which is "unacceptable." McCarthy specified to Politico that Cawthorn, 26, admitted to exaggerating the cocaine story and told him "he doesn't know what cocaine is." The North Carolina band The Mountain Goats pointed out the implausibility of that denial, noting that "key bump" isn't a phrase typically used by people unfamiliar with cocaine.

McCarthy said he won't punish Cawthorn, at least not yet. "There's a lot of different things that can happen," he told reporters. "I just told him he's lost my trust, he's gonna have to earn it back, and I laid out everything I find is unbecoming. And, you can't just say, 'You can't do this again.' I mean, he's, he's got a lot of members very upset."

The clear implication of Cawthorn's comments on the Warrior Poet Society podcast last week — that as "kind of a young guy in Washington," he's been invited to "kind of a sexual get-together" or "orgy" at one of the houses of people "I've always looked up to through my life, always paid attention to politics" — is that conservative lawmakers have invited him to sex parties.

Multiple Republican House members stood up at a caucus meeting Tuesday "to air their anger and frustration over Cawthorn portraying his own colleagues as bacchanalian and sexual deviants," Politico reports

One of the lawmakers who stood up, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), told Politico on Wednesday that simply telling Cawthorn "Hey, don't do that, again," won't cut it. "Frankly, if western North Carolina is not going to fix the problem, then leadership will have to," he said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) said she's "not sure why Republicans are acting so shocked by Cawthorn's alleged revelations about their party," given their continued embrace of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). "One of their members is being investigated for sex trafficking a minor and they've been pretty OK w[ith] that," she tweeted. "They issued more consequences to members who voted to impeach Trump."