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Herschel Walker’s military claims add to the candidate’s troubles

As if Herschel Walker weren't already struggling, he also appears to have referenced a military "career" that never existed.


Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign has confronted a great many controversies in recent months, but last week’s headlines were among the most dramatic to date. One of the women the Georgia Republican impregnated credibly accused him of paying for an abortion, even as he campaigns in support of a total abortion ban without exceptions.

Soon after, Walker’s adult son insisted that the candidate, among other things, “threatened to kill“ members of his family, forcing them to flee his “violence.”

But even as these controversies jolted one of the nation’s most important midterm races, the GOP Senate hopeful continued to face more conventional questions about dubious claims regarding his record.

HuffPost reported last week, for example, that Walker has publicly claimed he “supervised six hospitals around the United States.” There doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support the claim.

What’s more, Walker sat down with Rolling Out, a Black media outlet, and discussed that he wasn’t initially thinking about pursuing elected office. “People just talk about me and football,” he said. “But you know I’ve been very fortunate in the business world. I’ve been very fortunate in my military, uh, career, that I was doing a lot of things with the military.”

A CNN report yesterday highlighted the problem:

Walker has never served in the military. Rather, he has worked as a paid spokesman for a for-profit company that runs a mental health program for servicemembers and veterans. While Walker has visited numerous military bases to discuss mental health and other issues, it’s misleading at best — and arguably just false — to refer to a military “career” or to claim that he did anything “in the military.”

Indeed, while Walker was involved in the Patriot Support mental health program, he significantly exaggerated his role, and as the Associated Press reported in May, the program itself “is alleged to have preyed upon veterans and service members while defrauding the government.”

This is, in other words, a topic the Republican candidate would be better off avoiding, not referencing as part of a boast about a military “career” that never existed.

It might be easier to overlook stories like these if Walker had a reputation for telling the truth about his background. But therein lies the rub: He’s said he was a University of Georgia graduate, but that wasn’t true. He said he was his high school’s valedictorian, but that wasn’t true. He repeatedly claimed to have a background in law enforcement, but those claims simply weren’t true. His claims about his business background have been so extraordinarily wrong that The Daily Beast said they “appear to bear no resemblance to reality whatsoever.”

Even as Republicans try to think of a defense for Walker’s personal scandals, what’s the explanation for the Senate candidate’s track record of lying about his record?