Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) hasn’t even been in office two months but already he’s become one of the most vocal, publicity-hungry new GOP freshmen. Just like Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, he has adopted the Donald Trump playbook of promoting false, baseless assertions about voter fraud, demonizing political opponents and pushing a radicalized agenda for the Republican Party.
He also strictly adheres to another tenet of the Trump handbook: lying.
As an 18-year-old Cawthorn was seriously injured and partially paralyzed in a car accident in Florida while a friend was driving. Three years after the accident, as a freshman at conservative Christian Patrick Henry College in northern Virginia, he was speaking in the school’s chapel and told this vividly dramatic tale about his friend, the driver, this way: “He was my brother, my best friend. And he leaves me in a car to die in a fiery tomb. He runs to safety deep in the woods and just leaves me in a burning car as the flames start to lick my legs and curl up and burn my left side. Fortunately, there was several bystanders who come by and they break the window open that they pulled me out to safety and they sat me down. The paramedics arrive and decided that I’m gone and I have no pulse, I have no breath. And I was, I was declared dead on the scene. For whatever reason, may it be adrenaline or divine intervention, I definitely believe it’s the latter, I had a deep inhale of breath.”
Other than the fact that he was injured in the car accident, it’s all a lie. The driver, Bradley Ledford, told The Washington Post that he pulled Cawthorn from the car before flames spread. The Post also found that the accident report shows Cawthorn was “incapacitated,” but was never pronounced dead.
“That statement he made was false,” Ledford said. “It hurt very badly that he would say something as false as that. That is not at all what happened. I pulled him out of the car the second that I was able to get out of the car.”
The Post investigation also points out the lie that Cawthorn continues to spread that it was his injuries that derailed his plans to attend the Naval Academy. He already had been rejected for admission prior to the accident. It also reveals another commonality he has with Trump: allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Post writes: “Cawthorn’s election also came despite an extraordinary effort by former classmates and other alumni of Patrick Henry College urging that the voters of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District reject him on grounds of alleged sexual misconduct. Three women told The Post in on-the-record interviews that they objected to Cawthorn’s behavior, with one saying he tried forcibly to kiss her after she rejected his advance.” Cawthorn denies those allegations.