Donald Trump is reportedly distancing himself from Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn after a video surfaced of him naked with another man.
Cawthorn, who routinely speaks out against LGBTQ+ rights, has been on the defensive after footage of him naked and humping a man’s face emerged in early May.
A separate video published around the same time showed one of Cawthorn’s cousins, who works for him, grabbing his crotch. He’s dismissed the videos as “acting foolish and joking”.
Cawthorn was shaping up to become Trump’s protégé, with the former president inviting him to speak at a Save America rally just last month, and last year describing him as a “very special guy” who he would “back all the way, whatever he wants to do”.
But it appears that his antics may have thrown a spanner in the works.
Sources who had spoken to Trump in recent weeks told Rolling Stone that he described the videos as “gross”, had asked if Cawthorn was “f**king his cousin”, and was “completely weirded out.”
One source said: “Trump is not at the point of pulling his endorsement, but the [former] president says he wants to sit back and see what happens.
“But he’s been disappointed with Madison, and thinks he has problems handling his [public relations].”
The nude video of Madison Cawthorn was first published by American Muckrakers, a Democratic political action committee, which has requested that the House Ethics Committee investigate “whether any House Rules or statutes were violated by the relationship” between Cawthorn and his staffer.
Cawthorn said of the clip: “Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish, and joking. That’s it. I’m NOT backing down.
“I told you there would be a drip drip campaign. Blackmail won’t win. We will.”
The Daily Mail released the footage of his cousin grabbing his crotch, with Cawthorn has dismissed as “just stupid locker room talk between two cousins that grew up like brothers”. He said it was “taken long before I served in Congress”.
In April, Cawthorn was detained at a North Carolina airport after he tried to board a flight with a loaded gun in his carry-on luggage, and the congressman is due in court this month after he was found to be driving on a revoked licence.
Cawthorn, who also faced allegations of aggressive and unwanted sexual behaviour by multiple women, said in 2020 LGBT+ rights had gone “too far” because “it’s saying that we need to be able to have gender reassignment surgery for 12-year-olds”.