Fact Check: Herschel Walker’s Recent False and Misleading Claims

Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for the US Senate in Georgia, ran a campaign with false and misleading claims.

Walker once again faced questions about his honesty. The latest round of scrutiny was prompted by a report from The Daily Beast that anti-abortion conservatives paid for a woman’s abortion in 2009. CNN did not independently verify the story and Walker did vehemently denied it.

Walker, however, had previously undermined his credibility. In 2020 and 2021, he is the promoter of a series of false claims about the 2020 election. In previous years, he has repeatedly exaggerated his academic and business achievements. And in 2022, Walker made inaccurate statements about a variety of subjects – even once falsely claiming that he had never falsely asserted that he had actually made on camera at least twice.

Walker’s stereotype persisted in the final stages of the midterm race against incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. Here’s a fact check on five of the claims he made in September and early October.

Walker’s campaign declined to comment on specific statements. Walker’s campaign spokesman, Will Kiley, responded to a request for comment by insulting this reporter.

Warnock and the sponsored police

Walker’s campaign aired a fall campaign ad in which Walker looked into the camera and claimed that Warnock “called the police ‘thugs’, then cut their funding.”

First event: Walker’s claims about Warnock and police funding are untrue; Warnock did not vote to cut police funding and did not support the idea of ​​cutting police funding. And Walker’s other claim omits important context: Warnock’s use of the word “thugs” in a church sermon in 2015, was not a widespread insult about police officers in general. . Rather, Warnock is talking about policy abuses in Ferguson, Missouri.

Walker’s ad didn’t provide a source for the false claim that Warnock voted to cut police funding, even in the tiny text typical of campaign ads, so CNN asked for a battle. Walker’s translation, three times, explains what he is referring to. The campaign never explained. The PolitiFact website also found no evidence for Walker’s claims and received no explanation from his campaign.

You can read the full context for Warnock’s “thugs” comment here. As CNN reported in 2020, when the comment was also used against him by the Republican Party, Warnock, a pastor in Atlanta, made the comment while speaking in 2015 about a new Department of Justice report. Justice found that the Ferguson police force and the city’s court system frequently violated. constitutional rights of black residents. Warnock argued that “sometimes you can wear the colors of the state and behave like a thug” and that the powerful Ferguson police displayed “a kind of gangster and thug mentality.”

Republicans also tried in the 2020 election to force Warnock into the “shame the police” movement. But Warnock is clear that he doesn’t support the idea of ​​bringing down the police; instead he called to “reset the policy.” As a senator in 2021, Warnock joined other Democrats in seeking an increase in funding for the federal Community Oriented Policy Services (COPS) Recruitment Program, a program funding for law enforcement agencies. He also voted in 2021 for the US Rescue Plan pandemic relief legislation that, among other things, has provided at least hundreds of millions of dollars to law enforcement.

This year, Warnock co-supported a bipartisan Senate bill to direct the federal government’s COPS office to provide up to $250 million in funding over five years to local law enforcement agencies. method employs less than 200 full-time officers. Agencies will be allowed to use the funds to pay signing bonuses and retention bonuses to officers, as well as for different types of officer training. The bill was supported by law enforcement groups, including the National Brotherhood of Police, and it was unanimously approved by the Senate.

The National Republican Senate Committee previously highlighted the fact that Warnock and his Democratic colleagues voted in August of this year to reject an amendment related to Republican policy. for the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping climate, tax and healthcare bill.

That amendment should have sent the bill back to the Judiciary Committee, rather than passing it that day as Democrats intended, to increase funding for the purpose of ensuring that “law enforcement is solve crime” and “prosecutors are tackling violent crime by ensuring proper pre-trial detention for dangerous criminals.”

But voting against a vague proposal to increase law enforcement funding – a proposal that would have made the swift passage of a carefully negotiated piece of legislation – is clearly not the same as voting to cut back. police funding.

Walker and the army

In a September interview with media outlet Rolling Out, Walker said that while some have only talked about him in relation to his past as a football star, “I’ve been very lucky in my career. I’ve been so lucky in my military, uh, career – that I’ve done a lot of things in the military.”

First event: Walker never served in the military. Instead, he worked as a paid spokesman for a for-profit company that ran a mental health program for military personnel and veterans. While Walker has visited much military bases to discuss mental health and other issues, it is at best misleading – and arguably just wrong – to refer to a “career” in the military or to claim that he did anything” in military.”

Walker has a history of exaggerating his role with the mental health program Patriot Support, as the Associated Press reported in May – falsely claiming in both late 2021 and early 2022 that he was the one to start the program. submit.

Walker’s request for Rolling Out was Note on Twitter by Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger.

Warnock and transgender athletes

In multiple public statements in September, Walker stated that Warnock had “voted to include men in women’s sports.”

First event: Walker’s assertion is not true: Warnock has never “voted to include men in women’s sports.” Rather than Warnock Vote in 2021 against a Republican proposal that will be banned Education funding in the U.S. Rescue Plan pandemic relief bill from travel to states, colleges, and local education agencies allows “any student whose biological sex is men participating in a designated athletic program or activity for women or girls.”

In other words, this is a vote on proposals to financially sanction states and schools for their policies towards transgender athletes. Dumping Walker’s idea that transgender women are “men”, voting against such a proposal is simply not the same as a “putting men in women’s sports” vote right from the start. head.

Walker and the FBI

When Rolling Out asked Walker about his hypocrisy Shadows of 2019 Walker said, “I’m glad you brought that up. Because if you look at the tape, when I talk about the FBI, you can clearly see I’m joking. But I trained with the FBI. .. “

First event: Maybe some listeners might think Walker was joking when he strongly suggested he was an FBI agent, but Walker certainly didn’t make that clear – and in June 2022, when the Atlanta newspaper reported The Journal-Constitution reported Walker’s comment about being an FBI agent as a serious statement, Walker’s campaign did not tell the newspaper he was joking. Additionally, when Walker told the same story in a 2017 speech, he claimed to have an “FBI clearance.”

Here’s the background to Walker’s 2019 comments. In a speech to members of the military in which Walker discussed his battle with mental illness, he told a story about a time he was so angry with someone that he he took the gun and drove away with the intention of killing the person. only dropped when seeing a bumper sticker of love for Jesus.

Walker said he worked for law enforcement, then added, “You don’t know that either, do you? I spent time at Quantico, at the FBI training school. You don’t know. I’m an agent? me … “

Walker smiled at various points in these remarks, but at no time did he say he was joking; Apparently he wasn’t serious about spending time at the FBI training school but then joked shortly afterwards when he said he was once an agent.

And in a speech to service members two years ago, which was previously documented by PolitiFact, Walker recounted the same story of wanting to kill a man and saying that time, “I grabbed the gun. Because I worked with law enforcement. People don’t” I didn’t realize: I was cleared by the FBI. I went to Quantico. “

When the Atlanta Journal-Charter in June wrote about Walker’s remarks about being an agent, Walker’s campaign directed the paper to a 1989 article in which Walker said he had spent a week at school. FBI training institute in Quantico at the end of his football career. career – a statement that the FBI did not comment on.

Walker has never worked in law enforcement. He has publicize a card indicates that he was at some point after 2004 named “honorable agent” and “special sheriff” in Cobb County, Georgia, titles that do not confer arrest authority.


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