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The future youngest member of Congress had a message for his opponents after he won his race for a House seat in North Carolina Tuesday night: “Cry more, lib.”
Republican Madison Cawthorn, 25, defeated Democrat Moe Davis to win North Carolina’s 11th District, a seat once held by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Embraced by the right as a rising star after his surprise victory in the primary, Cawthorn has already seen his fair share of controversy for his visit to a property where Adolf Hitler vacationed as well as his campaign’s description of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker.
Cawthorn has also faced criticism for apparently referring to the far-right on Instagram and in the name of his LLC, which were first uncovered by Jezebel. The 11th district, however, is dominated by Republicans, which meant that Cawthorn’s win was expected after the primary.
Alongside a photo of himself visiting a home in Germany once patronized by Hitler—who Cawthorn called “the Führer”—the young Republican also wrote that seeing the property “has been on my bucket list for awhile.” The photo predated the campaign by several years, although Instagram’s method of dating makes it difficult to decipher exactly when it was posted.
“Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots,” he wrote in the caption.
Jezebel also reported that Cawthorn has a LLC with a Latin phrase that’s popular among white nationalists. The phrase, “SPQR,” is short for “Senatus Populusque Romanus,” or “the Senate and the people of Rome.”
Cawthorn has said that he denounces white nationalism and Nazism. When Davis drew attention to Cawthorn’s Instagram post, Cawthorn said that Davis was pushing “conspiracy theories.”
“His suggestion that I, a man in a wheelchair, would celebrate a regime that would have had me exterminated is offensive to every thinking person in western North Carolina,” Cawthorn said in a statement, CNN reported.
In statements on social media, Cawthorn said when he visited Hitler’s vacation home, known as the Eagle’s Nest, he’d been thinking of the Allied soldiers who’d celebrated the Nazis’ defeat there.
“It was a surreal experience to be remembering their joy in a place where the Nazi regime had plotted unspeakable acts of evil,” Cawthorn wrote on Facebook.
Cawthorn also faced controversy in October, after a website run by Cawthorn’s campaign described Booker as someone “who aims to ruin white males running for office.” Cawthorn said in a statement that his campaign had “clarified the language” on the website.
“The syntax of our language was unclear and unfairly implied I was criticizing Cory Booker,” Cawthorn said.
“It just really personally saddens me that somebody who is so clearly racist is a nominee of a major party, and I think it’s a disrespect of the entire community,” Booker told HuffPost. “It’s really unfortunate.”
The next-youngest member of Congress is New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is 31. She won re-election on Tuesday.