“What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff.”
This is how Hershel Walker responded on Tuesday night when asked about gun control in the wake of a shooter killing 21 people, including 19 children, at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school hours earlier.
The hollow incoherence on display here is sadly typical of the man Georgia’s Republican voters just deemed worthy of representing them in the Congress.
Walker is best known for his Heisman Award-winning turn at the University of Georgia, followed by a relatively lackluster career in the NFL. He hasn’t done much since that would indicate he’d be a capable public servant. He has, however, pledged his allegiance to Trump and flirted with the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged, landing him the former president’s endorsement and, in turn, frontrunner status to land the nomination.
Walker doesn’t have much in his background to portend a career in Congress, but he does have a history full of red flags indicating he’s unfit for office, which is probably why Republicans have been warning that he has little chance to unseat incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock in the general election this fall. Here’s a brief list of the warning signs that Walker could be a disaster should he wind up in Congress.
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He’s a compulsive liar
The scant few qualifications Walker may have for public office are largely fabrications. The Associated Press reported last summer that though Walker has repeatedly claimed his company employs hundreds of people, brings in $70-$80 million a year, and owns a chicken processing division. None of this is true. The company listed just eight employees when it applied for a Covid loan in 2020. Walker admitted in a court case that the company brings in less than $2 million a year. He doesn’t own chicken processing plants, either; he only licenses his name to them. The Daily Beast reported last month that Walker also lied about owning the nation’s largest upholstery business.
Walker has lied about his academic achievements, as well. CNN reported in April that though Walker has repeatedly claimed to have been the valedictorian of his high school and graduated from the University of Georgia in the top one percent of his class, there’s no evidence either claim is true. CNN even points to stories from the time about Walker saying he maintained a B average at UGA, and that he had a 3.0 GPA before his grades began to suffer. He never graduated, having left school early to enter the NFL draft.
Walker’s most ridiculous lie, however, may be that Trump has never claimed the 2020 election was stolen. “I’ve never heard President Trump ever say that,” he said.
He doesn’t believe in evolution
It shouldn’t come as a shock that Walker didn’t finish in the top of class considering some of the hare-brained beliefs he’s spouted. He seemed perplexed about evolution, for example, during a church appearance in March. “At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not?” he said “If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it.”
He’s pushed quack Covid remedies
Trump once suggested that Covid could be cured by bringing “light inside the body.” Walker has made similarly outlandish claims.
“Do you know right now, I have something that [you can bring] into a building, that will clean you of Covid, as you walk through this, this dry mist?” he told Glenn Beck in the summer of 2020. “As you walk through the door, it will kill any Covid on your body,” he added, claiming the product was “EPA-, FDA-approved.”
Walker said that “they” don’t want the public to know about the miracle spray.
He has a long history of abusive and threatening behavior
Walker has talked openly about his struggles with mental health, writing in his 2008 book that he has experienced violent urges. Walker has on multiple occasions described playing Russian roulette, and has also threatened physical harm on those close to him.
The Associated Press uncovered court documents showing that Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman — who filed for divorce in 2001, citing “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior” — in 2005 filed for a protective order against her ex-husband. She claimed Walker was unable to accept that she was dating someone else and started calling her family members. Her sister said Walker threatened to kill Grossman and her new boyfriend, “stat[ing] unequivocally that he was going to shoot my sister Cindy and her boyfriend in the head.”
The threats continued, with Walker telling Grossman’s sister that he wanted to “blow their fucking heads off.” He also allegedly confronted Grossman at a mall, during which he “slowly drove by in his vehicle, pointed his finger at [her] and traced [her] with his finger as he drove,” according to Grossman.
The protective order was granted, and a judge temporarily banning Walker from possessing firearms. When his book was released in 2008, Grossman elaborated on Walker’s abuse in an interview with ABC News, alleging he held a gun to her head in 2001 said, “I’m going to blow your fucking brains out.”
He was too scared to show up for the Republican primary debates
Walker has bailed on the Republican primary debates, opting instead to stick to events where he can control the narrative while letting Trump’s endorsement buoy his polling numbers. “Herschel Walker is ignoring the Georgia voters and ignoring us,” Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said during one of them in May. “If that’s what he does now, that’s what he’ll do in the future.”
Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Latham Saddler points at an empty podium belonging to candidate Herschel Walker as he participates in a Republican primary debate on Tuesday, on May 3, 2022, in Atlanta.
Brynn Anderson/AP Images
He won’t acknowledge that President Biden won the 2020 election
The primary prerequisite for landing an endorsement from Trump is a belief in the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen. Walker hasn’t railed against election fraud like some of Trump’s other preferred candidates, but he certainly isn’t acknowledging that Trump lost to Biden. “I don’t know,” told The New York Times when asked if Biden won. “I do think there was problems. And I think everybody else thinks there was problems, and that’s the reason right now everybody’s so upset.”
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