Former President Donald Trump and leaders of top GOP political organizations leapt to the defense of Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker on Tuesday, after a bombshell report accused the anti-abortion Republican of allegedly paying for a woman’s abortion years earlier.
“Herschel has properly denied the charges against him, and I have no doubt he is correct,” Trump said in a statement on his Twitter-like platform Truth Social.
The post from Trump, who has endorsed Walker and campaigned with him in Georgia, aligned with statements of support from the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a PAC closely tied to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Multiple anti-abortion groups also defended Walker on Tuesday.
Walker called the report “a flat-out lie” and vowed to file a defamation lawsuit against the news outlet by Tuesday morning. Spokespeople for Walker’s campaign have not responded to repeated questions about whether that lawsuit has been filed.
Scott Paradise, a spokesman for Walker’s campaign, tweeted that the candidate had a major fundraising boost in the wake of the publication of the Daily Beast story. Paradise did not share any specific fundraising data in those tweets.
The Daily Beast’s article Monday night marked the latest, and possibly largest, blow to the former NFL star’s scandal-plagued Senate bid, just weeks before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
It comes as Walker and his Democratic rival, incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, appear to be neck and neck in polls in the key swing state. The Senate fight in Georgia, a purple state that President Joe Biden narrowly won over Trump in 2020, is one of several key races that could determine which party controls the Senate after the elections.
The Daily Beast quoted an anonymous woman who said she became pregnant when she and Walker were dating in 2009, when he was not married, and that he “urged her to get an abortion.” The report said the woman supported her claims with a receipt from the abortion clinic, a “get well” card from Walker and an image of a personal check signed by him.
The article spurred Walker’s own adult son Christian to speak out against him in a series of furious social media posts.
“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.
But while Christian Walker appears to have disavowed his father’s Senate bid, the Republican Party’s leaders and institutions are standing by his campaign.
“Herschel Walker is being slandered and maligned by the Fake News Media and obviously, the Democrats,” Trump said in his statement. The former president, whose 2016 campaign was also marred by personal scandals, said of Walker, “They are trying to destroy a man who has true greatness in his future, just as he had athletic greatness in his past.”
“It’s very important for our Country and the Great State of Georgia that Herschel Walker wins this Election,” Trump wrote. “With all that Herschel has accomplished, when you come from Georgia and you see the name Herschel Walker when voting, it will be very hard to resist. Don’t!”
NRSC spokesman Chris Hartline said in a statement, “Democrats are losing in Georgia and are on the verge of losing the majority, so they and their media allies are doing what they always do — attack Republicans with innuendo and lies.”
“Democrats and the media have tried to stir up nonsense about what has or hasn’t happened in Herschel Walker’s past because they want to distract from what’s happening in the present,” Hartline said.
As a Senate candidate, Walker has called for a total ban on abortion, and he recently said he has “always been for life.”
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the NRSC, later came out with an even more forceful message, claiming Democrats “cranked up the smear machine” because Walker is winning.
“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,” Scott said, even though polling averages currently show Warnock beating Walker in a narrow contest.
“Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too,” Scott said.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-linked super PAC that has spent big on several key races, vowed to stand by Walker.
“We are full speed ahead in Georgia,” the PAC’s president, Steven Law, said in a statement. “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.”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel accused “desperate Democrats and liberal media” of turning to “anonymous sources and character assassination.”
“This is an attempt to distract from Warnock’s record of failure resulting in rising costs and out of control crime,” McDaniel tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Herschel Walker will deliver a safer and more prosperous Georgia, and the RNC will continue to invest in the Senate race.”
The reporting on Walker allegedly paying for an abortion arrived in an election cycle where abortion has become a top issue for many Democratic voters. The Supreme Court’s late June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade reshaped Democrats’ messaging, and appears to have galvanized voter registration among women and young voters.
Two major anti-abortion groups, which seek to end the procedure nationwide, said Tuesday they are standing with Walker.
“Hershel Walker has denied these allegations in the strongest possible terms and we stand firmly alongside him,” said Mallory Carroll, spokeswoman for a super PAC linked to SBA Pro-Life America, in a statement.
Another group, National Right to Life, said, “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 stands behind its endorsement of Herschel Walker,” it said, accusing Warnock of voting “to pay for thousands of abortions.”
“Herschel Walker wants to protect unborn children while Raphael Warnock wants to see them die through unlimited abortion.”
Meanwhile, an aide to incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, stopped short of backing Walker.
“As he has said repeatedly throughout this campaign, the governor is laser-focused on sharing his record of results and vision for his second term with hardworking Georgians, and raising the resources necessary to fund the advertising, ground game and voter turnout operation needed to ensure Republican victories up and down the ballot on November 8th,” Kemp advisor Cody Hall said, NBC News reported.
Walker’s personal life has dominated coverage of his Senate campaign. His ex-wife Cindy Grossman accused him of threatening to kill her, and Walker confirmed on the campaign trail that he has more children than were previously known.