Herschel Walker has defended the use of the “honorary” police badge in a Georgia Senate debate


Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker defended retiring the sheriff’s badge during a closely watched debate in Georgia on Friday, saying in an NBC interview Sunday that it was “legitimate” but a badge of honor for his hometown sheriff’s department.

Walker took out his badge during a debate about aid to the police — a move that drew admonitions from debate moderators and widespread derision from Democrats.

“This is from my hometown. This is from Johnson County, the sheriff of Johnson County, which is a legal badge,” Walker told NBC’s Kristen Welker in a clip from the interview.

A CNN check found that Walker has never worked in law enforcement. After being named an “honorary constable” and a “special deputy sheriff” in Cobb County, Georgia in 2004, he has posted a card showing titles that do not warrant arrest.

The contest between Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is one of the most important Senate races in the country, representing a key state where Democrats should have a chance to retain control of the Senate next year. The race has recently been rocked by allegations that Walker paid for one woman’s abortion and encouraged another, allegations the Republican has repeatedly denied and CNN has not independently confirmed.

A poll released earlier this month, conducted after the allegations emerged, found Warnock with 52% support among likely voters to Walker’s 45%, the same as a mid-September poll.

During Friday’s debate, Walker accused Warnock of calling officers “names” and causing “morale” to plummet, but the Democrat cited a false claim by Walker that he had previously served in law enforcement.

“One thing I have not done is I have not pretended to be a police officer and I have never, ever threatened a shootout with the police,” Warnock said, referring to a police report dating back more than two decades. who discussed the Republican exchange of gunfire with the police.

“Anyone can laugh,” Walker said in the NBC interview, adding that the badge means he has “the right to do things with the police.”

Walker, however, later admitted that it was a “badge of honor,” and NBC’s Welker read from a National Sheriffs’ Association statement that he objected to the idea that the badges should be left in a “trophy case.”