Politics

Lauren Boebert challenges Congressman who uses a wheelchair to a footrace

Rep. Lauren Boebert
Rep. Lauren BoebertPhoto: Gage Skidmore

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) challenged Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) to a sprint in a televised interview. Cawthorn has limited use of his legs and uses a wheelchair for mobility.

Boebert was talking on Newsmax about how both she and Cawthorn both want to hire Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse as an intern. Rittenhouse has become something of a hero on the far right after he traveled to a protest for Black lives with an AR-15; shot three people, killed two, and injured one; posed for pictures with the white nationalist group Proud Boys; and was acquitted last week on all charges by claiming self-defense.

Related: Lauren Boebert accuses Black Congresswoman of marrying her brother in House speech

“I am so thrilled at the jury’s verdict here,” Boebert told host Sebastian Gorka. “I do have some colleagues on the Hill who have, just like me, offered Kyle Rittenhouse an internship in their office.”

“Madison Cawthorn, he said that he would arm wrestle me for this, uh, Kyle Rittenhouse internship,” Boebert said, laughing.

“But Madison Cawthorn has some pretty big guns, and so I would like to challenge him to a sprint instead,” Boebert said. “Let’s make this fair.”

On social media, people compared Boebert’s “joke” to when Donald Trump mocked journalist Serge Kovaleski for having arthrogryposis, a congenital joint condition.

Cawthorn was in a car accident in 2014 at age 18 when riding in a van with a close friend, Bradley Ledford, as the two returned from a spring break trip to Florida. Ledford dozed off while driving and crashed into a concrete barrier.

According to a speech Cawthorn gave years later while attending the conservative Christian Patrick Henry College, Ledford fled the scene and left Cawthorn to die “in a fiery tomb.” He said that he was “declared dead on the scene” after bystanders pulled him out of the car. Doctors then told him that he would recover and “be at the Naval Academy by Christmas.”

That speech contradicts what was said in a lawsuit deposition shortly after the accident. Ledford said that he “unbuckled Madison and proceeded to pull him out while a bystander came in and helped me.” The official accident report said that Cawthorn was declared “incapacitated,” not “dead.” And Cawthorn himself testified that the Naval Academy rejected him before the road trip.

“It hurt very badly that he would say something as false as that,” Ledford later said about Cawthorn’s speech. “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 accident left Cawthorn with very limited use of his legs and he now uses a wheelchair for mobility.

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