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Cawthorn brought knife to his WCU talk, or so his critics, media say; his office mum
Saturday, 16 October 2021 11:45

From Staff Reports 

CULLOWEE — U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, was reportedly seen carrying what looked like a switchblade dagger while he was at an Oct. 5 event at Western Carolina University, the website www.talkingpointsmemo.com reported on Oct. 8.

“David Wheeler, the president of the FireMadison.com super PAC, reportedly took photos and videos of Cawthorn with the weapon in his pocket while the lawmaker was meeting with the right-wing college group Turning Point USA,” www.talkingpointsmemo.com stated.

“The images were published by the Asheville Citizen Times on Friday (Oct. 8)

“WCU spokesperson Benny Smith told the Citizen Times that the school ‘has been made aware of an allegation regarding an invited speaker to campus by a student organization’ and ‘has no further comment.’”

Meanwhile, the website www.avlwatchdog.org., reported in an Oct. 8 story headlined “Cawthorn Pointedly Defies Laws Banning Weapons on School Property” (with a subhead adding: “In latest incident, a short dagger in his pants,” the following:

“For the second time in as many months, Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces a potential criminal complaint for carrying a weapon — in the latest incident, a “combat” automatic knife similar to a switchblade — in a public school building.  

“The 26-year-old freshman Congressman was photographed Tuesday night at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee with the knife handle protruding from his pants pocket. 

“It appeared to be a different knife than the one he was seen carrying three weeks ago during an appearance before the Henderson County Board of Education. That also prompted a citizen complaint to be filed with Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin. 

“Griffin, a Republican, subsequently declined to charge Cawthorn for the misdemeanor offense. In an interview with The Smoky Mountain News, Griffin said he based that decision on “officer discretion” in misdemeanor cases where “the intent of the person” can be taken into account and a “verbal warning” is the appropriate action. It wasn’t clear, however, that such a warning was delivered to the congressman.

“Cawthorn was invited to the WCU campus by the university’s chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative student organization. About 200 people, all but a few of them unmasked, attended his hour-long speech in a conference hall,” avlwatchdog.com reported.

Further, the website noted, “During a question-and-answer session following his opening remarks, in which he emphasized his support for the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, an audience member asked, ‘Are you packing heat now?’

“Cawthorn replied: ‘I am not. Not right now. Not on campus.’

“But he made no mention of the knife, which North Carolina law classifies along with firearms as a ‘deadly weapon’ and prohibits anyone from carrying on ‘educational property.’

“Following his speech, while Cawthorn posed for selfies with members of the audience, he was photographed by David B. Wheeler, a political activist who directs a website devoted to preventing Cawthorn’s re-election in 2022. 

“Wheeler’s photographs appear to show the knife’s handle and clip protruding from Cawthorn’s pants pocket,” avlwatchdog.com stated.

The Daily Planet on Oct. 11 emailed Cawthorn’s office for comment on his alleged possession of a knife while on the WCU campus, but the newspaper did not receive a response by its print deadline for this edition.

 



 


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