A tweet featuring a photo of Nazis by Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn from western North Carolina has been deleted following criticism from people on Twitter.
Cawthorn posted the tweet just before 9 p.m. on July 9, promoting the flag and criticizing members of Black Lives Matter cited as linking racists to the practice of the flag.
“The American flag symbolizes unity, patriotism, independence, pride and love for our country. BLM continues to exhibit its radical hatred of this country,” tweeted Cawthorn, who represents the 11th District of the far west of North Carolina, including Asheville.
He linked it to a July 8 New York Post story: “BLM Chapter calls the American flag” a symbol of hatred “used only by racists.”
The main image of the article – and the main image of its tweet – showed members of the National Socialist Movement in 2008 marching from the Washington Monument to the United States Capitol grounds. A man wears a shirt that says “skinhead” as he holds the hand of a boy with a shirt with a large swastika, the symbol of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany in WWII.
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People who responded to the tweet criticized the photo, asking what message the congressman intended to send.
Following the July 12 questions sent by the Citizen Times to Cawthorn spokesperson Micah Bock about the tweet, it was taken from Twitter.
“Representative Cawthorn has denounced fascism in all its forms,” Bock said in a statement in response to the Citizen Times. “The American flag has stood for freedom since the founding of our nation, and the BLM movement would do well to remember that during World War II the flag flew proudly as American soldiers destroyed Nazism in Europe.”
Bock confirmed that Cawthorn removed the tweet, but declined to say why, instead referring the Citizen Times to the statement.
“To equate the American flag with a symbol of fascism is historically suspect and factually inaccurate,” the statement continued.
Cawthorn, who is the youngest congressman at 25, has aligned himself with the far right of his party, which strongly supports former President Donald Trump.
After: Representative Madison Cawthorn criticizes Olympian Gwen Berry on Twitter for protesting national anthem
Another right-wing GOP House member Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has been threatened with censorship after she compared mask warrants to the Nazis during the Holocaust, forcing Jews to wear Star of David badges. Greene apologized but more recently equated door-to-door vaccination efforts with Nazi “brown shirts” in a Twitter post.
Cawthorn himself has been criticized in the past for his attachment to Nazi and far-right symbolism. He used a Spartan symbol popular with extremists and posted on Facebook how getting to the Hitler Eagles Nest vacation home had hit part of its bucket list and that the German leader was “the ultimate evil”.
Cawthorn defended himself, claiming his wife was mixed race and was targeted by the Nazis.
Statement by Representative Madison Cawthorn
Here is the statement sent by Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s spokesperson Micah Bock about her deleted tweet:
“Representative Cawthorn spoke out against fascism in all its forms. The American flag has stood for freedom since the founding of our nation, and the BLM movement would do well to remember that during World War II the flag flew proudly as the American soldiers were destroying Nazism in Europe. To equate the American flag with a symbol of fascism is historically suspect, and factually inaccurate. Representative Cawthorn denounces this false comparison from the BLM movement, and also denounces the false comparisons of white supremacist groups. which is necessary to see that the American flag has flown as a barrier to both socialism and fascism, and as a beacon of freedom from all forms of tyranny. Those on the left would be well served to join Representative Cawthorn and the majority of Americans to condemn this false equivalence and to denounce those who seek to tear our nation in pursuit of radical political ideologies.
Joel Burgess has lived at WNC for over 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He has written award-winning stories on topics ranging from gerrymandering to police use of force. Help us support this type of journalism by subscribing to the Citizen Times.