MAGA-boosting Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) seemingly proposed another “Stop the Steal”-type rally in D.C. this week while sympathizing with the “political hostages” that were arrested and charged for participating in the violent Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
On top of that, the far-right congressman further spoke in hypothetical terms about trying to “bust” out those jailed for crimes related to the insurrection, repeatedly referring to them as political prisoners. (Pro-Trump Republicans and right-wing media figures have increasingly portrayed the Capitol rioters, who sought to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, as mere protesters who were unfairly targeted for their political beliefs.)
Speaking at a North Carolina GOP event on Sunday evening, Cawthorn—a featured speaker at the rally that preceded the Jan. 6 violence—was asked by one attendee what he was doing to free the hundreds of rioters currently facing criminal charges.
“Political hostages,” Cawthorn shouted to applause in a viral video posted to Twitter by a Democratic congressional staffer. “So this is something that we are trying to figure everything out about.”After saying that his office is “seeking answers” from federal investigators, the Republican lawmaker claimed they “don’t know where all the political prisoners are” before pondering about how to release them.
“And so, if we were actually to be able to go and try to bust them out—,” he exclaimed before quickly pivoting. “Let me tell you, the reason why they’re taking these political prisoners is they’re trying to make an example. Because they don’t want to see the mass protests going on in Washington.”
Another attendee then asked Cawthorn when he was “gonna call us to Washington again,” prompting the North Carolina congressman to suggest that another MAGA gathering was in the works.
“We are actively working on that one,” Cawthorn replied. “I don’t have an answer for that one yet. We are actively working on this. We have a few plans in motion I can’t make public right now. But this is something we are working on.”
Cawthorn lamented that there are a “lot of Republicans who don’t want to talk about this” because it’s “too controversial,” adding that the real shame is the “536 people who are being held in solitary confinement”—once again referencing the Capitol rioters who’ve been jailed for their participation in the Jan. 6 violence.
“Congressman Cawthorn was referring to actively working on getting answers about political prisoners following January 6th. Nothing else,” Cawthorn’s office wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Congressman Cawthorn wants due process for the prisoners and does not believe that is what they are currently receiving.”
D.C. police are currently planning a “full activation” ahead of next month’s planned September rally in support of the imprisoned Capitol rioters. The event, which characterizes the jailed rioters as “political prisoners,” is scheduled for Sept. 18. Despite Trump’s key role in inciting the original riots, the former president is pleading ignorance about this upcoming event.
The first-term ultra-conservative congressman has been one of the loudest backers of former President Donald Trump’s baseless conspiracies that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. His own participation in the pre-insurrection rally, meanwhile, has led the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots to request his and other pro-Trump lawmakers’ phone records.