Debate fact-check: Cawthorn vs. Davis

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the third round of debating commenced for the NC-11 Congressional seat featuring Republican Madison Cawthorn and Democrat Moe Davis. They discussed issues affecting the district and how they go about solving them.

The debate occurred at Southwestern Community College in the Burrell Conference Center with Dr. Bucky Dann as moderator with The Sylva Herald, Waynesville Mountaineer and One Feather hosting. SCC students provided the questions.

The Debate did not go without its fair share of attacks. Various claims that were made are below and are rated as true, false or misleading.

THE CLAIM: (at 11:51) Davis said: “My opponent has said that racism ended in 1865 with the Civil War when he claimed that 600,000 Americans gave their lives to end slavery.”

FACT-CHECK: This claim is found to be MISLEADING.

In an interview by Blue Ridge Public Radio, Cawthorn did say 600,000 Americans lost their lives but did not say that racism ended.

“600,000 Americans gave their life to free slaves and you’re going to tell me that’s not enough? You know, I know so many incredible African American men and women who are the best of our entire country, who have risen above the hatred and things that they have to deal with. I’m not gonna say that there’s not racism in this country. I don’t believe that reparations are necessary because I believe America already paid the price for their freedom.”

THE CLAIM: (at 17:26 ) Davis said: “Since the first of the year, I’ve left the district for one night. My opponent has been jetting around the country with the Trump kids and up in Washington and he made a trip down to the border wall with one of the folks that’s building the private border wall that two weeks later was indicted on felony fraud charges.”

FACT-CHECK: This claim is found to be TRUE.

On Facebook, Cawthorn posted a video with Donald Trump Jr. alongside the caption: “I am honored to have a strong Conservative leader like Donald Trump Jr. supporting our campaign for NC-11. Will you join Donald Trump Jr. and help support with a donation today?”

In an article by Blue Ridge Now, Cawthorn made an appearance at a “Make America Great Again!” rally at Point Lookout Vineyards in Hendersonville on Sept. 9

On July 23, Cawthorn made a posted on Instagram about his trip to Washington, D.C. to visit President Trump.

According to Smoky Mountain News, Cawthorn “traveled to Texas last month [July] to visit a private border wall and echoed discredited child sex trafficking claims promoted by the extremist conspiracy theory movement.”

CNN confirmed in August that President Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon among others were charged for defrauding donors of the fundraising campaign in support of the border wall.

THE CLAIM: (at 30:45 ) Davis said: “My opponent has said that he wants to balance the budget by ending welfare that support many of those folks that you’re talking about that are struggling to get by. He said welfare encourages single women, particularly minority women, to stay at home and make more babies so they get bigger checks and he’s the voice of the Republican party.”

FACT CHECK: This claim is found to be TRUE.

On May 21, Cawthorn met with the Cherokee County Republican Party.

“I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to start just cutting 1 percent or maybe 2 or 3 percent of entitlements that we’re sending out to people for these welfare states just down so we can slowly wean people off of entitlements,” Cawthorn said. “That way, we can get our country closer to a balanced budget to where we can start running in the black.”

According to The New Yorker, Cawthorn said the American welfare system is “basically incentivizing young women, especially minority women, to not get married, and have more children, because they get more welfare checks because of that.”

THE CLAIM: (at 31:12) Davis said: “My opponent says he wants to cut taxes and the taxes he said he wants to cut are capital gains taxes.”

FACT CHECK: This claim is found to be TRUE.

Cawthorn told WLOS he wants “to cut down on capital gains tax to encourage more investors to come to this area.”

THE CLAIM (at 31:47) Cawthorn said: “My opponent wants to enforce moving or change the way we do our taxes in this country. My opponent also supports removing the maximum tax income cap on social security and Medicare benefits.”

FACT CHECK: This claim is found to be FALSE.

According to Davis’ site, he supports “increasing the maximum taxable earnings cap and indexing benefits to inflation so that seniors don’t see their standard of living decline over time.”

THE CLAIM (at 46:35) Davis said: “When my opponent was at Trump Hotel and bumped into President Trump and Rudy Guilliani and Lindsay Graham, there were no facemasks on. They were totally irresponsible in dealing with the pandemic.”

FACT CHECK: This claim is found to be TRUE.

On July 20, Cawthorn posted a video on Instagram depicting him meeting with President Trump, Rudy Guilliani and Linsay Graham among others. Facemasks were not worn by Cawthorn, Graham, Trump, Mark Meadows and various onlookers.

THE CLAIM (at 48:30) Cawthorn said: “You want to talk about when I met Sen. Lindsay Graham and how highly he talks about you. I encourage all of you, please go watch the video when I got to meet Rudy Guilliani and Sen. Lindsay Graham. He does say he knows your opponent and that you’re a real piece of crap at the end of the video. Feel free to look into that sir.”

FACT CHECK: This claim is found to be TRUE.

In the July 20 Instagram video at the 15-second mark, Graham can be heard saying to Cawthorn, “Congratulations, I was in the Air Force with your opponent, who’s a piece of sh*t.”

THE CLAIM (at 48:40) Cawthorn said: “We can go through all these tweets of my opponent objectifying women–.”

FACT CHECK: This claim is found to be TRUE.

In a tweet on Sept. 23, 2019, Davis said, “#BeBreast” alongside photos featuring Ivanka and First Lady Melania Trump with erect nipples.

Davis has made similar vulgar tweets, which can be found on, a website created by Cawthorn for NC.

Fact-checks of the first two debates can be found here.

The full third debate can be viewed below.