Sen. Booker (D-N.J.), who sought the party’s presidential nomination, has been a frequent target of President Trump’s attacks.
Cawthorn, 25, a political upstart who beat the GOP establishment, Trump-endorsed candidate in a North Carolina primary election, issued a statement Friday correcting the language used on the website and claiming that it wasn’t intended to be about race, but rather a commentary on the reporter’s politics.
Cawthorn described the language on the website as a “syntax error” that was “unclear and unfairly implied I was criticizing Cory Booker.”
“My concerns were never with Cory Booker but Tom Fiedler who I believe is more of a political operative than a journalist based on his pattern of biased reporting,” Cawthorn said.
The website’s language has been changed, removing the allegation that Fiedler worked against White males, and replacing it with the charge that he is “an unapologetic defender of left-wing identity politics.”
The racist smear against Fiedler and Booker was first reported by TheBulwark.com.
Fiedler, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who served as executive editor of the Miami Herald, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He helps run a local nonprofit news site in North Carolina, AVL Watchdog, that has written critically about Cawthorn.
Cawthorn is running for the 11th Congressional District seat left vacant by Mark Meadows, now Trump’s chief of staff. While the district leans Republican, redistricting has made it more competitive for Democrats. Davis, a retired Air Force officer and former chief prosecutor of military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is considered a formidable opponent.
This isn’t Cawthorn’s first time having to defend himself against accusations of racism. In mid-August, ahead of his featured speaker slot at the Republican National Convention, Democrats highlighted a social media post from Cawthorn’s visit to the Eagle’s Nest, Adolf Hitler’s chalet in southern Germany. Cawthorn wrote that the location had been “on my bucket list for years. And it did not disappoint.”
But Cawthorn, who is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair after a car accident in 2014, dismissed the charge, telling the Associated Press that he thinks “racism is disgusting” and that because of his disability “these cowards … would have killed me,” referring to the Nazis.