As the youngest member of the 117th Congress, with no prior elected experience, some would argue that far-right representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina has reason to be confident.
But a challenge from Cawthorn and other House conservatives has social media users thinking that confidence is overly inflated.
Recently, a producer for The Rachel Maddow Show sought to cover an Associated Press story about a group of voters in the district Cawthorn recently filed to represent. They're working to have him removed from the ballot in 2022, arguing that his embrace of Trump's election lies amounted to aiding the insurrection pro-Trump extremists carried out against the U.S. Capitol just over a year ago.
In an email accidentally sent to the Congressman's office, the producer expressed trepidation to a colleague about asking Cawthorn for comment on the matter, writing:
"We don’t have a relationship with his office and between you and me are a little worried that if we did inquire he might ask to come on and explain. I know that is HIGHLY doubtful, but don’t want to take that risk."
There are a host of potential reasons for this trepidation. Perhaps an extra interview would have upended the show's strict time limits. Perhaps they were concerned Cawthorn would undermine the outlet's integrity by once again spreading disinformation. Or maybe they feared he would once again promote fantasies of violence against his ideological opponents.
The reason Cawthorn decided to go with? Rachel Maddow is "afraid" to debate him.
Cawthorn's colleague—far-right Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado—soon jumped on the wagon as well, claiming Maddow was "terrified" to debate him.
Multi-award winning Rhodes Scholar Rachel Maddow—a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Oxford—is almost certainly not afraid to debate Madison Cawthorn, a 26 year old college dropout who lied about being rejected from the United States Naval Academy.
People found the idea laughable.
Interestingly enough, at least two of Boebert's 2022 opponents responded to the tweet by calling for the congresswoman to debate them.
She has yet to respond. Could it be because she's "terrified"?