Rep. Madison Cawthorn calls Zelensky a ‘thug,’ says Ukrainian government is ‘incredibly evil’
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) recently called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and said the Ukrainian government is “incredibly evil,” in remarks that are at odds with the broad bipartisan support for Ukraine among American lawmakers and the public amid Russia’s invasion.
“Remember that Zelensky is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt, and it is incredibly evil, and it has been pushing woke ideologies,” Cawthorn told supporters at a recent event in North Carolina, according to video published Thursday by Raleigh-based TV station WRAL.
Madison Cawthorn, 26, is on his first term in the House and is a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump, who has recently praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s handling of the invasion as “genius” and “savvy.”
The congressman’s comments were first reported Wednesday night by Republican strategist Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Rove said Cawthorn had made the remarks Saturday at a town hall in Asheville, N.C. He said Cawthorn and a handful of other Republican candidates who are “echoing Mr. Trump’s isolationism, and Kremlin apologetics are out of sync with GOP voters.”
In a statement, Madison Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball said the lawmaker was referring to pro-Ukraine misinformation.
“The Congressman was expressing his displeasure at how foreign leaders, including Zelensky, had recently used false propaganda to entice America into becoming involved in an overseas conflict,” Ball said. “He supports Ukraine and the Ukrainian President’s efforts to defend their country against Russian aggression, but does not want America drawn into another conflict through emotional manipulation.”