This speech had everything: dead dogs, demon doctors, and the hottest conspiracies out there.
When he’s not busy helping foment a violent insurrection against his coworkers, or trying to smuggle weapons into places weapons don’t belong, Madison Cawthorn is — unfortunately — a lawmaking member of the United States House of Representatives. Most of the time, that means he does things like make spooooooky proclamations about Satan or get into stupid shouting matches with his own Republican colleagues. Sometimes, however, it involves actually showing up at the office and pretending to know what he’s doing.
That brings us to Tuesday afternoon, and Cawthorn’s turn at the mic during the House’s “one minutes” time set aside for general speechmaking and pontification. Let’s see how that went for Madison, shall we?
If you didn’t catch that amidst the Micro-Machines speed rush to say as much crazy shit as he could as quickly as possible, here’s what Cawthorn just said:
Today I am calling for the creation of a formal commission to investigate the true origin of Covid-19, the role [Dr. Anthony] Fauci played in its creation, the false statements he made to members of Congress under oath, and why the hell Americans are funding the torture of puppies in Africa. Americans deserve the truth, and this demon doctor must never be allowed to escape justice.
Where to even begin? I suppose the obvious place is with the allegation that Fauci is “funding the torture of puppies in Africa.” Like most nonsense Cawthorn spews, this particular conspiracy theory was too complicated for him to have come up with on his own. In fact, the claim that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is directly responsible for unspeakable cruelty to man’s best friend has become a thing among the most unhinged corners of the conservative media morass in recent days, from the former president’s first-born failson all the way to the New York Post, which first made the allegations that Fauci was into puppy pain way back in August.
The problem, as The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank pointed out Monday — one day before Cawthorn’s congressional temper tantrum — is that it’s all nonsense. The “puppy torture” so gleefully touted by Cawthorn and Co. as proof that Fauci is some sort of sadistic animal hater is actually a wild misinterpretation (and that’s the generous explanation) of something much more benign. Per Milbank (emphasis mine):
[T]his Tunisian study was erroneously attributed to NIAID [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases]. NIAID did, however, fund different research in Tunisia — and the beagles weren’t puppies, they weren’t euthanized, they weren’t “de-barked,” and they weren’t “trapped” so “flies could eat them alive.” The dogs were given an experimental vaccine and allowed to roam. There was a very good reason for this: Dogs are the main reservoir host (and flies the main vector) of the disease that was being studied, which affects half a million people a year, particularly children, and has a 6% mortality rate in Tunisia.
Now, were Cawthorn the sort of absolutist animal rights activist who was fundamentally opposed to medical testing on any animals, that’d be one thing. But considering he paid $1,700 out of his own campaign coffers for “gifts for hosts” that were later determined to be fancy taxidermy projects, I have a sneaking suspicion his concern here isn’t being made in the best of faith.
As for Cawthorn’s demand for a “formal commission to investigate the true origin of COVID-19,” I have great news! There already was a full federal investigation into the pandemic’s origins. President Biden ordered it this spring and received a full report from the country’s various intelligence agencies exactly two months ago. The investigation results were classified, though, so maybe Cawthorn just wasn’t important enough to be looped in on the findings. Bummer.
In any case, in terms of Cawthorn’s assertion that Anthony Fauci is a “demon doctor” who “must never be allowed to escape justice.” Well ... uh ... I dunno, man. If there ARE demons roaming the White House and whispering in the president’s ear, call the Ghostbusters, I guess?