Cawthorn’s defeat comes at the end of his first year in Congress and a flurry of scandals, including a nude video of the candidate that surfaced online and photos of Cawthorne wearing women’s lingerie at a party.
The representative conceded Tuesday night. Edwards won 33.41% of the vote compared to Cawthorn’s 31.89% with a difference of fewer than 1,500 votes, according to North Carolina’s unofficial election results.
Thursday afternoon, Cawthorn posted to Instagram a list of figures he referred to as “America First Patriots” including former President Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tucker Carlson and Matt Gaetz.
His post begins with praise for those who have come to his defense in recent weeks and then goes on to say he intends to “expose those who say and promise one thing yet legislate and work towards another, self-profiteering, globalist goal.”
“The time for gentile politics as usual has come to an end,” he said. “It’s time for the rise of the new right, it’s time for Dark MAGA to truly take command. We have an enemy to defeat, but we will never be able to defeat them until we defeat the cowardly and weak members of our own party. Their days are numbered. We are coming.”
It’s unclear what “Dark MAGA” entails beyond a clear reference to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Additionally, many speculated what Cawthorn meant by “gentile politics,” with some believing the usage to be an erroneous spelling of “genteel.”
The word “genteel” refers to graceful manners that are “free from vulgarity or rudeness,” according to Merriam-Webster. Meanwhile, the word “gentile” refers to a person of non-Jewish nationality or faith.
By Thursday evening, the terms “Dark MAGA” and “gentile politics” were both trending on Twitter.
The controversy surrounding Cawthorn fueled division within the GOP with some Republican leaders speaking out against the first-year congressman.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said, “Cawthorn has fallen well short of the most basic standards western North Carolina expects from their representatives.”
Conversely, however, Cawthorn also found a new ally in Trump, who had once endorsed Cawthorn’s primary rival but later changed his stance.
“I love him because he’s never controversial,” Trump said during an April rally alongside Cawthorn. “There’s no controversy. But you know what? He loves this country. He loves this state and I’ll tell you, he is respected all over the place. He’s got a big voice.”