There are more questions about Herschel Walker’s past than there are answers to.
Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Herschel Walker, a former college and professional football star, longtime Trump friend and Republican Senate candidate, has always had a heroic image in Georgia, the state he returned to last year before launching his first candidacy. . After leading the University of Georgia Bulldogs to a national championship in 1981 as a freshman prodigy, he was often depicted in a Superman costume. When, in 1982, he stopped during a morning run to extract a motorist from a crashed car, no one was surprised. His stoic, unassuming demeanor disarmed white racists without embarrassing black fans. And his general conservatism (he’s often spoken of wanting a career in law enforcement after his playing days are over) came across as genuine.
Fans were shocked when Walker published a memoir in 2008 revealing that he had suffered for many years from a serious mental illness (dissociative identity disorder, sometimes called “multiple personalities”), which, according to his own account, had led him to disturbing behaviors, such as that of hold a loaded gun to his wife’s head once. But he claimed to have made a full recovery thanks to therapy and strong religious faith. When news first surfaced of Trump trying to convince the man who is almost universally known in Georgia simply as “Herschel” to return home and run for the Senate, it was not difficult for journalists from dig up more evidence of Walker’s troubled past, as the AP did last July:
An Associated Press review of hundreds of pages of public documents related to Walker’s business ventures and her divorce, many of which have not been previously reported, sheds new light on a checkered personal history that may hamper her bid for the Senate. The documents detail accusations that Walker repeatedly threatened the life of his ex-wife, exaggerated claims of financial success and associates alarmed by unpredictable behavior.
When Walker returned to Georgia and announced a Senate campaign, several Republican candidates already in the field were quick to bring up his questionable background. In particular, State Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black repeatedly warned that Walker’s history of violent behavior towards women was “disqualifying” and that highly regarded Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock would beat him in November. Campaigning like the star he is, Walker dodged debates and interviews that could involve tough questions and won his May 24 primary without a runoff, handing Trump a signature victory in a very bad primary evening in Georgia.
With the general election approaching, Warnock and his Democratic allies will have the resources to shed light on the most hidden places in Walker’s life. And the embarrassing revelations just keep coming. Earlier this week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Walker was simply inventing a law enforcement past he regularly boasted about. Subsequently, the Daily Beast reported a new bigger problem with Walker’s past:
For years, the former football star became Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker expressed tremendous pride and love for his adult son, while taking a principled stand against fatherless households and deadbeat dads, especially in the black community…
What Walker has not publicly acknowledged is that he has a second son, who has apparently been estranged from his biological father since he was born ten years ago.
One Day Later, Daily Beast reported that Walker has another son born out of wedlock and a daughter as well. While Walker is denounce with anger the suggestion that all of these previously unknown to the public children are “secret” (he apparently disclosed them to the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition when he was named to this group), and takes the side that these children are drawn into “gutter politics”. But that’s not a great look for a supposedly high-character man who criticizes irresponsible parenting.
At this point, on the eve of what is likely to be a bitter general election year in Georgia, you have to wonder if the vast number of disturbing revelations about Walker’s background will act as a corrosive drip, drip drop by drop, undermining the image. of strong character that he appreciated until very recently. No one allegation about the future senator matters so much, but together they could be a problem for him, especially if he remains vague and cautious about political issues and other more impersonal reasons that Georgians might vote. for him.
The problem is that when Walker does speak out, it doesn’t always go over well for him. In March, he raised some eyebrows for remarks that sought to refute the theory of evolution with the question: “Why are there still apes?” And more recently, his inconsistent response to the Uvalde gun massacre has garnered much more attention:
Walker probably won’t be able to dodge the media and his Democratic opponent as November approaches. And in Warnock, the oft-muted Republican will face a debate foe who has prepared and delivered Sunday sermons for many years. The Holder can’t afford to get too preachy about Walker’s misconduct; Warnock went through a messy and contentious divorce shortly before his election to the Senate, and his ex-wife subsequently accused him to breach a custody agreement. But if there’s more dirt on Walker, it will almost certainly come to light before Election Day. And even “Herschel” has only limited moral capital to spend. He, and Republicans in general, may still regret his decision to give up a relatively quiet life in Texas and enter the political snake pit.