Herschel Walker Sidesteps Abortion Issue at Georgia Campaign Stop

He has repeatedly denied a claim that he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion, and he avoided journalists’ questions in his first public appearance since the claim was reported.

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This article is part of our Midterms 2022 Daily Briefing

Herschel Walker Sidesteps Abortion Issue at Georgia Campaign Stop | INFBusiness.com

Herschel Walker, a U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia, on Thursday made his first public appearance since a woman told The Daily Beast he had paid for her abortion in 2009.

WADLEY, Ga. — Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia, drove to a lumber yard in this tiny town 150 miles east of Atlanta for his first public event since he was accused of paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion. But there was no getting away from the claim that threatens to upend his political aspirations.

Asked if he had contacted any of the mothers of his children, one of whom told The Daily Beast he had paid for her abortion, a glasses-clad Mr. Walker told reporters, “No. Why do I need to?”

“I know why you’re here,” he told the clutch of reporters, television crews and photographers. “You’re here because the Democrats are desperate to hold onto this seat.”

Mr. Walker, a former N.F.L. star who won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Georgia, has been adamantly denying the report since it emerged on Monday and prompted charges of hypocrisy leveled at the candidate who supports a ban on abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest or saving the life of the mother. He has delivered those denials only to friendly commentators on conservative media outlets.

To the news media who met him at Battle Lumber Company, he avoided the issue, calling it a distraction from President Biden’s unpopularity and the president’s alliance with his Democratic opponent, Senator Raphael Warnock. Mr. Walker did not mention the matter to a small group of mill workers who gathered to hear his stump speech — most of whom were unaware of Mr. Walker’s appearance until shortly before he arrived.

Hours earlier, he told the conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt that he did not know the woman leveling the accusation, although she says they had a child together. In discussing the report that he had paid for an abortion, he seemed to undercut his own anti-abortion views, telling Mr. Hewitt, “Had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of there.”

“You know, people have done that, but I know nothing about it,” he continued. “And if I knew about it, I would be honest and talk about it, but I know nothing about that.”

Besides, he told Mr. Hewitt, “I’ve already been forgiven, and if I’ve been forgiven, why in the world would I not be forgiven for something like this?”

Mr. Walker has leaned heavily on his faith and the Christian belief in redemption and rebirth to distance himself from a past that includes accusations of domestic violence, stalking, mental health concerns and four children from four different women — some of whom hardly know him.

He told the audience at his stump speech that running for the Senate, like other endeavors, was not something he initially wanted to do. “But man can’t stop what God’s got in store for you,” he said.

But his evasions, dismissals and denials are growing more difficult. Christian Walker, his best-known child and a conservative social-media influencer, pressed an attack he launched Monday night. After the latest Daily Beast article, Christian Walker tweeted, “Wear a condom, damn.”

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker from Georgia, appeared to attribute Mr. Walker’s struggles to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., when he said on Fox News this week, “You know, he’s been through a long, tough period. He suffered a lot of concussions coming out of football.”

Source: nytimes.com

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