Updated Oct 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump, GOP leaders back Herschel Walker after abortion report

Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for US Senate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Herschel Walker speaks to Trump supporters. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former President Trump and other influential Republicans on Tuesday pledged support for Herschel Walker after a report alleged the Georgia candidate paid for a girlfriend's abortion in 2009.

The big picture: Walker's race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is viewed as one of GOP's best chances to pick up a Senate seat this November and win back control of the chamber.

Trump said in a statement that Walker "is being slandered and maligned" by the media and the Democrats, adding that he still fully supports him in the Georgia senate race.

  • "Herschel has properly denied the charges against him, and I have no doubt he is correct," Trump said.
  • "They are trying to destroy a man who has true greatness in his future, just as he had athletic greatness in his past."

Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, said the report "is an attempt to distract from Warnock's record of failure resulting in rising costs and out of control crime."

  • "Herschel Walker will deliver a safer and more prosperous Georgia, and the RNC will continue to invest in the Senate race," she tweeted.

Rick Scott, the head of the Senate GOP's campaign arm, said Tuesday the party still supports Walker.

  • “Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too," Scott, who serves as chair of the National Republican Senate Committee, said in a statement.
  • Scott said Democrats "have cranked up the smear machine" on Walker because "they are on the verge of losing the Senate."
  • "When the Democrats are losing, as they are right now, they lie and cheat and smear their opponents," Scott said.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an anti-abortion group, told Axios it will stand by Walker, saying the candidate "has denied these allegations in the strongest possible terms and we stand firmly alongside him."

The National Right to Life Committee said in a statement that it "stands behind its endorsement of Herschel Walker" despite the allegations.

  • "Herschel Walker wants to protect unborn children while Raphael Warnock wants to see them die through unlimited abortion," the NRLC said. "The Democratic party knows it cannot win on the issues, so we once again see an attempted character assassination, a tactic that is sadly all too often encouraged by a compliant and willing media."

Details: The Daily Beast reported Monday that Walker paid for his former girlfriend's abortion. Walker denied the report, saying he planned to sue the Daily Beast for defamation on Tuesday morning, but has yet to do so.

  • Walker has said on the campaign trail that he opposes abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
  • Walker's son, Christian Walker, also accused his father of "lying" and "making a mockery" of his family Monday night in a series of tweets.

Zoom out: Walker previously admitted he struggled with mental illness in response to previous allegations of violence.

  • “Most of the things I've done after my struggles have shown people that you can get knocked down and you can get up," he said. "And that's what I want people to realize."
  • His campaign has also faced accusations that he made false and hyperbolic statements about his past, which included how many children he has.

Go deeper: Herschel Walker's son accuses father of lying about his past

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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