During a local GOP political event in her home state on Sunday, Representative Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) warned of “bloodshed” in the 2020 election and called those arrested and charged with the January 6 Capitol riot of “political hostages”.
The far-right lawmaker made the comments during an event hosted by the Macon County Republican Party in Franklin, North Carolina, which the group posted on Facebook. The post has since been abolished.
During his speech, Cawthorn repeated former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 elections were “rigged” and warned that they would lead to violence.
“If our electoral systems continue to be rigged and stolen, it will lead to one place and it is bloodshed,” he said.
He then pleaded for “election security,” saying, “And I will tell you, even though I am ready to defend our freedom at all costs, there is nothing I dread doing more than having to take up arms against an American comrade. And the way we can have a remedy against that is if we all passionately demand that we have election security in all 50 states. “
Cawthorn, who spoke at Trump’s “Stop The Steal” rally ahead of the Capitol violence on January 6, called rioters in law enforcement custody “political hostages” and “political prisoners “during his remarks. After a member of the public asked Cawthorn what he was doing to “support the 535 Americans who were captured from January 6? He said his team was “looking for answers” from the federal government.
“The big problem is that we don’t know where all the political prisoners are,” he said. “So if we could actually try to get them out and let me tell you, the reason they take these political prisoners is because they are trying to set an example. Because they don’t want to see the mass protests unfold in Washington.
More than 600 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 Capitol uprising. They face a variety of charges, including assault on law enforcement and the media, theft and destruction of federal property. A majority have been released, but some remain in prison, and those considered dangerous or at risk of absconding have been placed in solitary confinement pending trial, a fact that has drawn criticism from both sides of the world. alley.
“When are you going to call us again in Washington?” asked the next participant, eliciting applause.
“We’re actively working on that one,” Cawthorn replied, as can be seen in the images below. “We have a few plans going on that I can’t make public at the moment, but it’s something we’re working on.”
In an email to HuffPost, Cawthorn communications director Luke Ball said Cawthorn “is not actively working on any” protests “or” plans “to bring people to Washington.” He argued that Cawthorn’s response to “actively working on that one” was a reference to the previous discussion on “political prisoners” and not to the question just put to him, and that “asserting the otherwise would take his remarks out of context altogether. ”
Regarding the comment to “get them out” of Cawthorn, Ball said the congressman was calling for “due process” for prisoners and “not advocating any form of illegal action.”
Explaining Cawthorn’s remarks on “the bloodshed”, Ball said the lawmaker “was CLEARLY advocating that violence does not occur on issues of electoral integrity.”
“He fears that others are wrongly choosing this path and firmly states that electoral integrity issues must be resolved peacefully and never by violence.” “
Cawthorn’s comments come amid a rise in domestic extremism that federal security agencies warned in March could motivate more attacks in the United States
The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center warned in a joint assessment that political and social developments, including Trump’s rigged election rhetoric, the January 6 fallout, conspiracy theories and the COVID-controversy 19, “would almost certainly stimulate” some extremists to “try to engage in violence this year.”
Zachary Cohen, CNN national security reporter tweeted that Cawthorn’s remarks were “exactly the sort of thing” these agencies warned against, noting that Cawthorn is part of a group of GOP lawmakers whose phone records are of interest to the special House committee investigating the attack January 6.
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