George Erwin Jr., a former Henderson County Sheriff, rescinded his support for newly-elected Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), saying Cawthorn’s words played a role in the deadly riot that took place at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Erwin was set to serve as Cawthorn’s district director, but changed his mind after seeing the destructive storming of the Capitol, according to Blue Ridge Public Radio (BPR).
“Once a word leaves your mouth you can’t take it back in. And you can either incite or you can calm with the words you use. And I have seen no calming words,” Erwin said.
Cawthorn spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally prior to the insurrection at the Capitol, where he said, “This crowd has some fight in it. … The Republicans hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice.”
He later called the group of people who stormed the Capitol “disgusting and pathetic,” and acknowledged President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse GOP leader tells members to quit spreading lies on riot, antifa DC attorney general says Trump Organization improperly paid K bill incurred during inauguration 70K QAnon Twitter accounts suspended in the wake of Capitol riot MORE’s role in inciting the riot.
Erwin said he was wrong to ever support Cawthorn, and urged fellow law enforcement officers to similarly drop their support of the congressman.
“There were a lot of good, great people that were up there for the right reasons, but you can get a few people in a massive crowd like that and your words can incite them,” Erwin said. “And then you have what we call a mob mentality and other people can get caught up in it.”
“You can’t talk about [how] you support Blue Lives Matter and support the blue when you are firing up people who are harming law enforcement officers,” he added.
As BPR notes, this is not the first time Cawthorn has been confronted with controversy. He has been accused of sexual misconduct and using white supremacist language. He garnered a great deal of backlash for a photo of him at Adolf Hitler’s vacation house in which he referred to Hitler as “the Fuhrer” and said the visit had been on his “bucket list for a while.”