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A news website has published undated images of what it says show Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina wearing women’s clothes.

Cawthorn later tweeted a reply suggesting the images were from a pre-politics cruise ship game, and their publication is part of a political smear.

The website Politico published the images Friday, setting them in context of Cawthorn’s past expressions of his Christian faith and his disdain for what he’s criticized as the loose moral principles of Washington.

He made headlines last month with comments about drug-fueled orgies he said were taking place among lawmakers in the capital that appeared to implicate Republican colleagues, but later issued a statement disavowing that impression.

In December, he announced he and his wife are divorcing after only eight months of marriage.

Politico reported it “could not independently verify the photos, which are screenshots of original images.”

The outlet reported the images “were provided to Politico by a person formerly close to Cawthorn and his campaign. A second person formerly close to Cawthorn and his campaign confirmed the origin of the photos.”

Cawthorn, 26, was an athlete in high school who has used a wheelchair since a serious car accident when he was 18.

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“The date the photos were taken is unclear, though they appear to show Cawthorn sitting in a wheelchair, indicating the event happened after his accident,” Politico reported. “In the photos, he is wearing a distinctive pendant necklace that has appeared in other images and videos of Cawthorn. The photos have started to circulate among political rivals.”

Cawthorn is seeking re-election, and faces a Republican primary on May 17. He has successfully fended off an attempt to keep him off the ballot because of the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion at the Capitol.

The Raleigh News & Observer published a story about the photos on Saturday, noting it had obained copies of the photos independently.

In a Twitter post, Cawthorn called the images “goofy vacation photos.”


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