North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn gave his final address on the House floor Wednesday, delivering an impassioned plea for young men to “reclaim your masculinity” and decrying cultural “weakness” in America.
In a one-minute speech, the 27-year-old lawmaker – who once told Republican colleagues, “I have built my staff around comms rather than legislation” – decried social media’s influence on young Americans and essentially called on the next generation to step up.
“It used to be a rite of passage in this country for young men to be punched in the face when they did something stupid. Our nation used to believe that there was strength and purpose in taking the hits, learning from your mistakes and growing through the adversity,” Cawthorn said.
“America is weak. Her sons are sickly, and her daughters are decrepit,” he continued. “Our country now faces the consequences of enabling a participation trophy society. We’re no longer the United States. We’ve become the nanny state. Our young men are taught that weakness is a strength, that delicacy is desirable, and that being a soft metrosexual is more valuable than training the mind, body and soul.”
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He went on to accuse social media of “siphoning our men of their will to fight” and predicted “disaster” for the nation.
“I ask the young men of this nation a question,” Cawthorn said. “Will you sit behind a screen while the storied tales of your forefathers become myth? Or will you stand resolute against the dying light of America’s golden age? Will you reclaim your masculinity? Will you become a man to be feared? To be respected? To be looked up to? Or will you let this nation’s next generation be its final generation?”
This was Cawthorn’s parting message, as he was defeated in a Republican primary after serving just one term earlier this year. He will leave office in January.
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Cawthorn’s tenure on Capitol Hill was as tumultuous as it was brief, with the 27-year-old infamously claiming to have been invited to orgies on Capitol Hill. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had called him aside for a meeting, and Cawthorn soon said he had made up the story.
A highly visible lawmaker, Cawthorn was considered a rising star in the GOP when he took office before a string of controversies cost him his standing with more senior Republicans like Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. A super PAC affiliated with Tillis spent hundreds of thousands of dollars against Cawthorn during the GOP primary.
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Cawthorn has kept a generally low profile since losing his primary, but he was spotted at Mar-a-Lago last month, attending former President Trump’s speech announcing his candidacy for president in 2024.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.