UPDATE: Cawthorn wanted to clear up something in his speech.
About the Madison mistake: I ad libbed that line and meant to say James Madison was 25 when the Declaration was signed.— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) August 27, 2020
Arguably my favorite founder.
If you're in conservative circles, odds are you've heard the name, or at least seen his face. Madison Cawthorn, the 25-year-old candidate for the 11th congressional district in North Carolina, who won a stunning upset over the Trump-endorsed candidate Lynda Bennett, was invited to speak at this year's Republican National Convention. As he explained in his speech Wednesday night, this young man fights for the same principles President Trump does. He's proud to be a "radical for freedom."
"To liberals, let’s have a conversation," Cawthorn suggested. "Be a true liberal, listen to other ideas and let the best ones prevail. To conservatives, let’s define what we support and win the argument in areas like health care and the environment. In this new town square, you don’t have to apologize for your beliefs or cower to a mob. You can kneel before God but stand for our flag."
Cawthorn, who was a real estate investor before jumping into politics, is ready to "fight for the future, to seize the high ground and retake the Shining City on a Hill."
His sudden political rise is incredible when you hear how he got here. When he was just a teenager, Cawthorn was in a terrible car accident and left paralyzed from the waist down. He got candid about that struggle on Wednesday, and how he came out of it stronger and more determined than ever to make a difference.
"At 18, I was in a horrific car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. Instantly, my hopes and dreams were seemingly destroyed. I was given a one percent chance of surviving. Thanks to the power of prayer, a loving community, and skilled doctors, I made it."
"It took me over a year to recover," he continued. "My first public outing in a wheelchair was to a baseball game. Before my accident, I was 6’ 3”. I stood out in a crowd. But as I was wheeled through the stadium, I felt invisible."
At 20, he says, he thought about giving up. But not for long.
"I knew I could still make a difference," he explained. "My accident gave me new eyes to see, and new ears to hear. God protected my mind and my ability to speak. I say to people who feel forgotten, ignored, and invisible: I see you. I hear you. At 20, I made a choice. In 2020, our country has a choice. We can give up on the American idea, or we can work together to make our imperfect union more perfect."
And he's not done yet. Cawthorn says he's ready to take on Capitol Hill.
"When I’m elected this November, I’ll be the youngest member of Congress in over 200 years," he declared.
Cawthorn's entire message was inspiring, but it was a moment at the very end that made our jaws drop. As he was finishing his remarks, two men came from behind the stage to place a walker in front of him. Cawthorn grabbed hold of it and actually stood up as he pledged to be "a radical for freedom."
"I say to Americans who love our country – young and old – be a radical for freedom," Cawthorn said. "Be a radical for liberty. Be a radical for our republic. For which I stand."
Watch the incredible moment below.