North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn delivered a powerful speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night. However, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asserted that Cawthorn's moving monologue was a "direct rebuke" to those protesting social injustice, including NBA players.
Cawthorn is a 25-year-old vying to become the youngest member in Congress, a title currently held by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 30. Cawthorn, who owns a real estate investment company, defeated Lynda Bennett for the Republican nomination for the 11th Congressional District seat, which was vacated by Mark Meadows when he became President Donald Trump's chief of staff.
"This is a time of great adversity for our country, and I know something about adversity," Cawthorn began his speech.
Cawthorn is paralyzed from the waist down because he was involved in a car accident when he was 18 years old. Despite his disability, Cawthorn punctuated his speech by rising from his wheelchair to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
"You can kneel before God, but stand for our flag," Cawthorn said before standing up.
"The American idea my ancestors fought for during the Revolutionary War, is just as exciting and revolutionary today as it was 250 years ago," Cawthorn said. "I say to Americans who love our country, young and old, be a radical for freedom. Be a radical for liberty. And be a radical for our republic, for which I stand. One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you, and may God bless America."
. @CawthornforNC just ended his RNC speech by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance: https://t.co/7M33sSuzqT— Caleb Hull (I'm With the CCP Don't Ban Me) (@Caleb Hull (I'm With the CCP Don't Ban Me)) 1598492917.0
"PBS NewsHour" reporter Yamiche Alcindor criticized Cawthorn's speech on Twitter.
"Madison Cawthorn made it a point to stand, suggesting that all Americans to [sic] should stand during the pledge of allegiance & national anthem," Alcindor, who is an NBC News and MSNBC contributor, said. "It was a direct rebuke of actions by ppl -- including black athletes who are currently sitting out games -- protesting police brutality."
Madison Cawthorn made it a point to stand, suggesting that all Americans to should stand during the pledge of alleg… https://t.co/ObSpAVHQun— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche Alcindor) 1598492788.0
The tweet, which has more than 5,000 Likes, spurred backlash online. At the time of publication, there were more than 10,000 responses to the polarizing critique, and many of the replies lambasted Alcindor.
"How on earth could you possibly turn the rather moving act of a FREAKIN' PARAPLEGIC rising for the national anthem into some weird BLM trip?" National Review contributor Jeff Blehar tweeted. "When someone holds the door open for you, is that a rebuke of BLM too? My patience for takes like this has reached its limit."
"If you thought, 'certainly nobody could attack this man in a wheelchair for standing up at the end of his speech,' you haven't met our completely insane White House press corps, currently viciously attacking a paralyzed man for not sharing their far-left political views," the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway said.
"The activist below found a way to turn a paraplegic standing up in his wheelchair an act of white supremacy," Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross wrote.
"Nowhere did Cawthorn state his standing was a direct rebuke of actions by ppl — including black athletes who are currently sitting out games — protesting police brutality. And Yamiche Alcindor is not a journalist," conservative commentator Stephen Miller said.
"Madison Cawthorn may be paralyzed, but @Yamiche is the one who is a completely broken person," Sean Davis, co-founder of the Federalist, said. "Only a deranged lunatic who worships at the altar of politics could get angry at the sight of a paralyzed person standing up. What a sad, pathetic way to go through life."
Davis also tagged Alcindor with an image of disabled veterans from Soldier Strong, a group that serves injured veterans, standing up for the national anthem during the 2020 RNC.
If you thought, "certainly nobody could attack this man in a wheelchair for standing up at the end of his speech,"… https://t.co/nOH978M7Ng— Mollie (@Mollie) 1598497761.0
The activist below found a way to turn a paraplegic standing up in his wheelchair an act of white supremacy https://t.co/UQ8VvmvE7m— Chuck Ross (@Chuck Ross) 1598495788.0
Nowhere did Cawthorn state his standing was a “direct rebuke of actions by ppl -- including black athletes who are… https://t.co/eNlCkZeATt— Stephen L. Miller (@Stephen L. Miller) 1598497221.0
Cawthorn will face off against Democratic candidate Moe Davis, a retired Air Force colonel and former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, in the November election. An internal Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll conducted in July had Cawthorn leading Davis by five points (46-41).