When he was elected as the representative of North Carolina in 2020, the 25-year-old Republican surpassed AOC as the youngest person in Congress. The 2020 US election confirmed Cawthorn as the youngest member of Congress ever elected.
READ MORE: Wheelchair History Timeline
But Why is Madison Cawthorn in a Wheelchair?
At just 18 years old Madison was involved in a grisly car accident. The accident near Daytona Beach Florida during spring break of 2014. Cawthorns’s friend Bradley Ledford slept behind the wheel of his father’s BMQ X3 SUV.
Cawthorn was sitting in the passenger seat reclined back and unfortunately had his feet on the dashboard. The SUV collided into a concrete barrier, driving at approximately 65 miles per hour.
Almost immediately after impact, the vehicle burst into flames. At this point, Madison was unconscious according to Ledford. With the help of a bystander, Ledford was able to remove Cawthorn’s body from the wreck.
“I remember his leg was pretty badly cut from the accident and we were sitting on the side of the interstate,” Ledford recalls. “So I took my shirt off and wrapped it around his leg and then just kind of stayed with him until the paramedics got there.”
Cawthorn’s ankles, pelvis, and back were shattered in the 2014 accident, leaving him partially paralyzed from the waist down.
He can only move his legs to a limited extent.
There are some occasions when Madison has been seen standing. Most notably has to be during his wedding to Cristina Bayardelle on April 3, 2021.
@nazarrez What a beautiful day with Cristina & Madison Cawthorn #fyp #foryoupage #wedding #weddingvid #madisoncawthorn #congressman #love #politics ♬ original sound – Nazar Rez
“Be radical for our republic, for which I stand,” he said as he stood during his speech at the Republican National Convention in August 2020, Cawthon also stood up and moved around in his wheelchair.
@.wyatt.6.6 stand for the flag kneel for the cross. #republican #trump2020 #madisoncawthorn ♬ original sound – Wyatt.6.6
His limited mobility has not stopped him from rising through the political ranks, and he claims that the wheelchair itself has become a source of inspiration for him.
“My accident gave me new eyes to see, and new ears to hear,” he said during a speech at the Republican National Convention.
“At 20, I thought about giving up. However, I knew I could still make a difference.”