Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Cawthorn, Davis on masks, gun control, poverty

Congressional candidates Madison Cawthorn and Moe Davis hold sharply different views on mask wearing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with Davis calling a Cawthorn rally a "super spreader" event and Cawthorn declaring that he encourages supporters to make the decision "that is best for them."

During a forum Friday night hosted by Blue Ridge Public Radio, the Smoky Mountain News and Mountain Xpress, conservative talk radio host Pete Kaliner asked Cawthorn about mask wearing. "Your opponent has criticized you for not wearing a mask at your campaign events, calling them 'super-spreader events,'" Kaliner said. "Joe Biden has promised to issue a national mask mandate if elected. So, do you oppose mask mandates, do you oppose wearing a mask? What is your view on Covid-19? Is it a hoax? I think your opponent just mentioned that. Do you believe this is real?"

Cawthorn responded that his fiancee works in the medical field and has worked with patients suffering from Covid-19, showing him it is very real. "I know from talking to her because she has actually been with the patients who are suffering from COVID-19, that it's no hoax," he said.

Cawthorn continued, “I encourage every single one of the people inside of my party who come to my events to make the best decision that is best for them. I don’t believe in this one-size-fits-all cookie cutter form of government that we have seen for so long. But while my opponent will criticize me for having an event that he is calling a ‘super-spreader event,’ if I labeled it a protest it appears that my opponent would have absolutely no problem with that.” He held up a printed off photo of Davis at a demonstration.

“I encourage every single one of my followers and people in the country that if you need to wear a mask, if you are in that area of your life where you have a preexisting condition or are at an age where Covid-19 will greatly affect you, than I encourage you please practice social distancing, please wear a mask and if I am around you I will wear a mask myself. But I believe this rhetoric, this narrative that Democrats are painting that this is a binary choice you either have to choose lives and people, or you have to choose profits with the Republicans. It is a logical fallacy creating a false binary choice that I don’t think actually exists. We have to make sure we have a revivable economy once we come out of this once-in-a-century pandemic event that is making all of Western North Carolina suffer.”
Davis responded: “I believe in science and you can look at what my opponent has said, I mean, he dismissed it early on, that we were making too much of Covid-19, that he wasn’t seeing bodies stacked up in the streets. And you can look on his social media feed at his events and judge for yourself. He had the big event with Dan Forest over July 4. There were hundreds of people — not a mask in sight.
“Over 200 people in this district have lost their lives to Covid-19, so I am following the guidelines. I did go to an event but I don’t hold events, unless they comply with the guidelines. It may hamper the campaign but, if you want to be in public service, the first thing you do is not put the public at risk. And I am not going to do that to pander to my ego or win an election.”


Davis: “There is no one thing you can do and fix the problem, I think it’s like concentric circles.” “When I was growing up here we had good schools and now our kids rank in the bottom third of the country in math and reading skills because we’ve been siphoning money off from public education.”
“My opponent says public education, which he’s never spent a day in—he was homeschooled and then went to a private college—that those are liberal indoctrination centers. I think a lot of public educators take offense. I think it begins with education, to give folks the good foundation. It is making sure everyone has health care coverage, so when they get sick they can go to the doctor.”
Davis said, “Back before Covid-19, the unemployment rate in most of our counties in this district was about 3.5 percent which was on par with the national average at the time, but we had 14 of our 17 counties where the poverty rate was above the national average. What this tells me is that people were working, but they weren’t earning a living. The minimum wage has been $7.25 for a dozen years now. … I think we need to address all of those issues and give folks a path forward.”
Cawthorn said, “When it comes to poverty in North Carolina, I believe this is something we have to tackle head-on. I believe the Republican Party is the party that can lead us to a greater economy, just like the one we had in 2019. … I believe we are the only party that can lead us out of the debt we are facing. I want to make that one of my cornerstones, leading us back to a balanced budget.”
Cawthorn continued, “Our economy, especially right here in Buncombe County, is so dependent upon the tourist industry that almost 1 in 7 jobs are supported by that industry. Almost every single person that works for an employer in the tourist industry is paid minimum wage. That means if we raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars we would lose almost half of all the employment and jobs that are going on in the tourist industry. And it would be a death blow that would be dealt to the economy here in Western North Carolina. I believe we need to lower taxes and cut regulations increase revenue we can make here.”
Davis responded to increasing the minimum wage, “If we can decouple healthcare from employment, that takes that burden off of employers. It’s holding employers back as well as employees. I‘ve met folks that are in jobs they are not passionate about, they’ve got to keep it because they need the benefits. …
“The Trump economy was great for Madison Avenue and for Madison Cawthorn, it wasn’t great for Madison County, where the poverty rate was high and people are struggling. Cutting capital gains, this trickled down—folks have gotten trickled on for too long and it’s time we lift up from the bottom instead of trickle down from the top.”

Gun Control

Cawthorn: “The Second Amendment was not written so we could go hunting or have a sporting rifle. It was so we could be able to defend our families and defend ourselves from a tyrannical government.”
“My opponent will most likely come up and tell you he is a multi- gun owning Democrat, to try and paint himself as a Heath Shuler Democrat. But, I will tell you, that my opponent when he was speaking to The Blue Banner magazine at private fundraiser with his liberal friends, said that he is for removing assault rifles from the market, but he could not tell red voters because then he could not do it. Because then he would not be elected.”
Davis: “I am a multi- gun owner. I grew up hunting. I am not going to come take your guns, I’ve got my own. What I do support is guns and sense. I do support strict background checks and red flag laws and I think if you want to own something beyond a pistol, rifle and a shotgun, that the law here in North Carolina on concealed carry permits would be a good basis for a national standard on a more enhanced weapon like that.”

Guantanamo Bay

Cawthorn said: “My opponent dies on the hills of terrorists, convicted terrorists, and their human rights. … There was a man who encouraged people to join the al-Qaeda agents that actually led to the September 11 attacks. Two of them were pilots, one of them was one of the coordinator’s behind this. That man was Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this is a man who was convicted and was put in Guantanamo Bay. My opponent, although he was a prosecutor in Guantanamo bay, decided to come out and defend him when he had absolutely no obligation to do so. And he is so proud of it, he actually included the endorsement by Slahi on his website.”
Davis: “On this issue of Guantanamo, then I guess my opponent also feels the same way about Robert Jackson and Kenneth Royal and John Adams. John Adams defended the British at the Boston Massacre, later went on to be president of the United States. Robert Jackson left the Supreme Court of the United States to be the Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, where we didn’t take the Nazis out and shoot them, we gave them a trial. And Mr. Slahi, despite what my opponent represented, was never tried, never convicted. And that’s why he went home. … I don’t back down from standing up for the rule of law. I’m proud of it, if he (Cawthorn) is not then that’s sad on you.”