The other Herschel Walker story
On Monday evening, the Daily Beast reported that Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, paid for a woman he was dating to get an abortion in 2009. The story was significant because Walker said he wants to completely ban abortion, with no exceptions.
The woman, who spoke to the Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, said Walker "urged her to get an abortion." She provided the outlet with a $575 receipt for the abortion, a "get well" card allegedly signed by Walker, and an image of a $700 check she said Walker included in the card to reimburse her for the procedure.
Walker was interviewed by Fox News' Sean Hannity later on Monday to respond to the allegation. He called it "a flat-out lie" but was circumspect about key aspects of the story. Walker said that he "never asked anyone to get an abortion" and "never paid for an abortion." But he did not deny that he signed the "get well" card, which was published by the Daily Beast. He also did not deny that he sent the woman $700. "I send money to a lot of people, and that's what's so funny," Walker said. "I give money to people all the time, because I'm always helping people because I believe in being generous." Hannity quickly pivoted to other subjects, but at no point during the discussion did Walker deny that a woman he was dating obtained an abortion.
In a statement, Walker said he would file a defamation lawsuit against the Daily Beast on Tuesday morning. As of Tuesday evening, no lawsuit had been filed. A lawsuit would require Walker to specify what, exactly, in the Daily Beast story was defamatory.
The report prompted a strong reaction from Christian Walker, one of Herschel Walker's children. Walker has four children but had only acknowledged Christian prior to launching his campaign. Christian said he did not believe his father's denial of the Daily Beast story. In a tweet, Christian also said that his father threatened to kill him and his mother, Cindy Grossman:
Christian's mother revealed that Walker threatened to kill her in a 2008 interview with ABC News. Grossman said that "her husband pointed a pistol at her head and said, 'I’m going to blow your f’ing brains out.'" Grossman filed for divorce in 2001, citing “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior.” In 2005, Grossman secured a protective order against Walker, "alleging violent and controlling behavior." At the time, Grossman's sister said Walker "stated unequivocally that he was going to shoot my sister Cindy and her boyfriend in the head.”
Walker hasn't denied Grossman's allegations but has also refused to discuss them on the campaign trail. (In 2008, Walker told ABC he "probably did it" but claimed he couldn’t remember.) Walker now says he addresses the incidents in his book, but the book does not discuss any incidents of violence involving Grossman.
Christian's allegation that his father has also threatened to kill him — and forced him and his mom to repeatedly relocate to stay safe — is new. In response, anonymous Republican operatives "close to Walker" have attacked Christian's character: "This is a deeply disturbed kid with obvious issues of his own. He’s a spoiled brat and is solely to blame if Herschel loses the race."
On the record, Republicans have chosen to ignore Christian's comments completely.
Republicans rally behind Walker, ignore allegations of domestic violence
On Tuesday, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, released a statement affirming his support for Walker:
When the Democrats are losing, as they are right now, they lie and cheat and smear their opponents. That’s what’s happening right now. They know they are on the verge of losing the Senate, and they know that Herschel Walker is winning, so they have cranked up the smear machine.
Scott blames "Democrats" for the attacks on Walker, but his son Christian is not a Democrat. Christian uses social media to tout his right-wing political views. Prior to posting about his father, Christian's Twitter account was frequently devoted to praising Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). But Scott's statement does not grapple at all with Christian's allegations of death threats and violence.
The Senate Leadership Fund — the Super PAC controlled by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that is spending tens of millions of dollars supporting Walker's candidacy — said recent news has not shaken its support of Walker. Steven Law, the CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund, said the following:
This election is about the future of the country. Herschel Walker will make things better, Raphael Warnock is making it worse. Anything else is a distraction.
But are allegations that Walker threatened to kill members of his family a "distraction"? Does Law think such conduct, if true, should be irrelevant to voters? Law did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump also defended Walker in a statement, saying the candidate was "being slandered and maligned by the Fake News Media and obviously, the Democrats." But Christian Walker is neither a member of the media, nor a Democrat.