The North Carolina lawmaker in a tweet acknowledged that the video was authentic and said that he was joking around with a friend.
“A new hit against me just dropped. Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish, and joking,” Cawthorn wrote in his tweet. “That’s it.”
“I’m NOT backing down. I told you there would be a drip drip campaign,” Cawthorn continued in the tweet. “Blackmail won’t win. We will.”
The comments from the freshman lawmaker come after the American Muckrakers PAC, an opposition group campaigning against Cawthorn, said they posted the video after receiving it from an anonymous source who said they used to be a Cawthorn donor.
“Madison Cawthorn should resign from Congress today. While his sexual orientation or behavior behind closed doors is no interest whatsoever to us, his actions should have consequences,” Muckrakers PAC President David B. Wheeler said in a statement on the posting of the video.
“Ask him for any of this information. We do not know those details. We do know Rep. Cawthorn shouldn’t be in Congress regardless of when this video was taken. We don’t have any further comment at this time.”
Cawthorn’s response made reference to previous comments he made in an Instagram post where he said that the “establishment” would be launching a coordinated “drip campaign” against him.
“They’re going to drop an attack article every one or two days just to try and kill us with a death by 1,000 cuts, and that is really their main strategy,” Cawthorn, 26, said late Tuesday night on Instagram.
The video’s release comes as Cawthorn, who is up for reelection in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district, has faced multiple controversies and faced rebuke from fellow GOP members of Congress.
The 26-year-old recently received backlash from fellow Republicans after making a claim in a radio interview that lawmakers had invited him to orgies and cocaine parties. He was also accused by a former congressional staffer of improperly firing her after she denied medical and family leave.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that Cawthorn had to “turn himself around.”
Cawthorn, who also recently had photos leaked of him wearing women’s lingerie at a party, was cited last month for attempting to bring a loaded firearm through security at a Charlotte, N.C. area airport.