NC Congressional Candidate Called Hitler’s House a ‘Bucket List’ Trip

Madison Cawthorn, a western NC candidate for Congress. (Image via Cawthorn's campaign)

By Sarah Ovaska

August 11, 2020

Madison Cawthorn, a political upstart with President Trump’s support, faces questions about trip to Nazi ‘Eagle’s Nest’ and biographical inconsistencies. 

A Republican candidate for a western NC Congressional district is facing scrutiny this week for a 2017 photo he took of himself smiling in front of Adolf Hitler’s former vacation home. 

Madison Cawthorn, 25, of Hendersonville, is pitted against Democrat Moe Davis of Asheville, 62, a lawyer and retired Air Force Colonel who prosecuted some Guantanamo prisoners, in the November election. 

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If voters in the Western North Carolina district decide on Cawthorn, he would be one of the youngest people ever elected to Congress. 

The seat for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District was vacated when Mark Meadows left to become President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. Trump has declared his support for Cawthorn, tweeting this week that Cawthorn was his “#MAGA candidate of the week.”  

But the conservative candidate is under fire this week because he referred to an apparent 2017 visit to Hitler’s former vacation home Kehlsteinhaus as a “bucket list” trip. 

Davis remarked in a tweet Tuesday night that “Hitler’s vacation retreat is not on my bucket list” and included a screen grab of Cawthorn’s Instagram post. Cawthorn referred to Adolf Hitler with the honorific “Fuhrer” title, though he also referred to Hitler as “a supreme evil.” 

The photos were removed from the Instagram account this week. Requests for comment by Cardinal & Pine by Cawthorn’s spokesman were not returned.

But Cawthorn tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the uproar over his 2017 vacation was a “fake news controversy,” and included a photo of US military members at Eagle’s Nest in 1945 “celebrating the Allies triumph over one of the greatest evils in human history.” 

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Cawthorn wrote in the 2017 social media post, “The vacation house of the Führer. Seeing the Eagles Nest has been on my bucket list for a while, it did not disappoint. Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots.” 

That’s not the only controversy facing Cawthorn. 

A Jezebel article this week also scrutinized the veracity of some of Cawthorn’s biographical details and questioned whether he may harbor white nationalist sentiments. 

“Cawthorn is following the playbook of other, more successful far-right Republicans in recent years, attempting to rebrand his extreme views—which include what I would describe as white supremacist-adjacent nationalism—as squarely in the mainstream of the Republican Party,” wrote Jezebel‘s Esther Wang. “In doing so, he’s co-signing those ideas for a new generation of voters who may be turned off by Old White Men but who might embrace them from a fellow millennial.” 

The article — “My Dark Journey into the Soul of a Model Young Republican Candidate” — looked into Cawthorn’s statements that his plans to attend the US Naval Academy were derailed after a 2014 car accident left him partially paralyzed. 

Instead, Wang reported that Cawthorn said in a deposition related to the car accident that he was rejected by the prestigious service academy before the car accident. 

The Jezebel article also mentioned several potential links to white nationalist symbols, from the name of his real-estate holding company and the display of the Betsy Ross version of the US flag in his home. 


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