nazi pilgrimage

That time GOP newcomer Madison Cawthorn vacationed at Hitler’s retreat and shared photos of it

25-year-old Madison Cawthorn is the Republican US congressional candidate from North Carolina. He is also, evidently, a huge fan of Adolf Hitler. So much so that he went on a pilgrimage to his vacation property in Bavaria, Germany.

In 2017, Cawthorn posted photos from a trip he took to the Eagle’s Nest, the Nazi retreat in Germany where Hitler and other members of the Third Reich liked to spend their down time, along with the caption:

The vacation house of the Führer. Seeing the Eagles Nest has been on my bucket list for awhile, 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.

The photos were first discovered by Jezebel and published in a damning report accusing Cawthorn of “following the playbook of other, more successful far-right Republicans in recent years, attempting to rebrand his extreme views … as squarely in the mainstream of the Republican Party.”

While some media outlets reported that Cawthorn had since removed the photos from Instagram, as of today they still appear up on his page.

According to Jezebel, in addition to calling Hitler “Führer,” which is considered a term of respect, Cawthorn also named his real estate company SPQR, a term from the ancient Roman Republic that has been appropriated by white nationalists, and in his home he has the Betsy Ross flag, which has also been adopted by far-right extremists.

Rolling Stone reports that the Betsy Ross flag has “been associated with the Patriot Movement, an anti-government, extremist right-wing movement that encompasses smaller fringe movements such as the militia movement, the sovereign citizen movement, and the tax protest movement.”

Cawthorn addressed the backlash surrounding the Eagle’s Nest photos on Facebook yesterday, saying, “When I visited the Eagle’s Nest this was the history I had in mind. It was a surreal experience to be remembering their joy in a place where the Nazi regime had plotted unspeakable acts of evil.”

A recent poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows Cawthorn leading his Democratic opponent Moe Davis by five percentage points.

Related: Gay guys are thirsting over GOP newcomer Madison Cawthorn… but should they be?