Anti-abortion groups and top Republicans are standing by embattled Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker after a report that Walker, now a hardcore abortion opponent, paid for his former girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009.
In a bombshell investigation, The Daily Beast reported that Walker gave $700 to an ex-girlfriend so she could terminate a pregnancy, a stunning revelation that’s in direct opposition to Walker’s stance on abortion as the GOP’s nominee for a crucial Senate seat.
Despite Walker’s apparent hypocrisy, anti-abortion groups that previously endorsed Walker don’t seem to be abandoning him less than five weeks before the election.
“Herschel Walker has denied these allegations in the strongest possible terms and we stand firmly alongside him,” said Mallory Carroll, the spokeswoman for Women Speak Out PAC, affiliated with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
The National Right to Life Committee, one of the nation’s most prominent anti-abortion organizations, endorsed Walker in April, when he was still a candidate in the GOP primary. At the time, the group commended Walker for opposing the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions.
“The anonymous attack on Herschel Walker is just the latest in a series of attempted Democratic character assassinations going back to the allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas,” National Right to Life said in a statement Tuesday, apparently referring to Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings 31 years ago, which included sexual harassment allegations against him made by Anita Hill.
“National Right to Life stands behind its endorsement of Herschel Walker. It is the Democratic candidate, Raphael Warnock, who has in fact voted to pay for thousands of abortions,” the group added.
“Herschel has properly denied the charges against him, and I have no doubt he is correct,” Trump said of the former football star. “They are trying to destroy a man who has true greatness in his future, just as he had athletic greatness in his past.”
Walker has denied the Daily Beast report and threatened to sue the outlet for defamation on Tuesday morning — though he hadn’t as of early afternoon.
“It’s a flat-out lie,” Walker said of the allegations on Fox News on Monday night, immediately following the release of the Daily Beast report, which included a photo of a card that Walker had allegedly sent his girlfriend while she was recovering. In a statement, he condemned the story in “the strongest possible terms.”
Top Republicans and allied GOP groups are also standing by Walker, who has been trailing in polls against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Georgia is a top target for Republicans hoping to flip control of the Senate next year.
“When the Democrats are losing, as they are right now, they lie and cheat and smear their opponents,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement. “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.”
“Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too,” Scott added.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico he was also sticking with Walker.
“Sadly, such personal attacks — all too common in political campaigns — are a diversion from the threats to Georgia’s economic, personal, and national security, which the Democratic majority has made worse, not better,” Cornyn said.
Neither Scott nor Cornyn addressed the fact that Walker’s son, a conservative influencer, lent credibility to the allegations leveled against his father in angry tweets and videos he posted online after the Daily Beast story was published.
“You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence,” Christian Walker wrote on Twitter.
“Family values people, he has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them. He was out having sex with other women,” he added in a separate video. “Everything has been a lie.”
Walker responded only by tweeting: “I LOVE my son no matter what.”
As a GOP candidate, Walker said he supports a national abortion ban without exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother — the most extreme end of the anti-abortion spectrum.
The news follows earlier damaging revelations about Walker, including allegations of domestic abuse and failing to publicly disclose at least two of his children, despite touting his commitment to family values.
Amy Kennedy, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes in Georgia, said the fact that a woman close to Walker had an abortion shows how access to the procedure impacts many lives — including those who campaign against reproductive rights.
“The reality is that even the politicians who publicly campaign on banning abortion often privately understand the power of abortion access. Everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion,” Kennedy said. “Abortion is essential health care, and no politician should ever be able to control someone’s private health care decision.”
There is, of course, some irony in how Walker showed up for his girlfriend when she got an abortion: Not only did he pay for it, according to the report, but he sent her a get-well card that encouraged her to rest and relax while she recovered.
“Herschel Walker basically modeled how to take care of a person who’s had an abortion — the financial support, the sweet card — all while saying publicly anyone else behaving like him was paying to murder their baby,” said Jess McIntosh, a Democratic strategist and longtime reproductive rights advocate.
“The GOP hypocrisy file on this issue is already so populated, I honestly thought I’d lost the capacity for shock here,” she added. “But what a stunning new entry.”