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Demonstrators support Ukraine, rip Cawthorn

About 20 people demonstrated in support of Ukraine and against U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Thursday within sight of the freshman congressman's new campaign headquarters on Asheville Highway.

Holding a Ukrainian flag and signs condemning Cawthorn's comments on the conflict, the protesters stood on the sidewalk in front of Fire Station 1 at Five Points as motorists passed, some honking their horns in support.

"How much time do you have?” Bruce Mcdonald cracked when asked what he thinks of Cawthorn, who was caught on tape calling Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a thug and issued a statement after Zelenskyy spoke to Congress Wednesday warning of "neocons both on the left and in my party who clamor for war at every chance they get."

“I think he’s a disgrace," Mcdonald said of Cawthorn, who faces seven opponents in the May 17 Republican primary. "I think he’s an embarrassment to the district, the worst thing I can imagine in a politician. He’s an outlier. If Lindsey Graham thinks he’s bad that says it all.”

Bruce Mcdonald holds a sign protesting U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn's comments on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Bruce Mcdonald holds a sign protesting U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn's comments on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.A Navy veteran who served from 1969 to 1972, Mcdonald knows something about Russia and its military might. He was as an anti-submarine officer on a destroyer that sailed to the Black Sea during the Cold War.

In recent actions in Congress, he said, Cawthorn has voted no on bills to improve health services for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during military service, to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to automatically enroll veterans in  the VA health care system and to provide veterans contraceptive items at no contest.

“Politicians generally use veterans as a prop,” he added. "They all say they love veterans. I guess I can understand that. But he says it then he does nothing and works against us, which is even worse."

In the statement his office released Wednesday, Cawthorn warned that pro-Ukraine emotion must not steer the U.S. into war.

"The scenes coming from Ukraine are both jarring and heartbreaking," he said. "But lurching to war or involving American soldiers in this conflict could lead to identical jarring and heartbreaking scenes with American lives. It is possible to augment the efforts of the Ukrainian people in strategic ways, including harsh sanctions on Russia and Russian assets. But emotion should never guide our foreign policy. The United States must be extraordinarily careful to implement logical, rational foreign policy that tactfully strengthens the Ukrainian people while simultaneously putting America first."