In the wake of the bombshell report that Herschel Walker paid for a woman’s abortion, when the two fathered a child while dating in 2009, and after her son condemned the father’s behavior online, Republicans came to the defense of the Georgia Senate candidate.
Republicans like Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, became a conservative pundit.
But Gingrich’s defense of Walker — who has repeatedly denied the allegations reported by the Daily Beast, which have not been independently verified by CNN — may have done more harm than good.
“I think he’s the most important Senate candidate in the country because he’s going to do more to change the Senate just because of his presence, because of his confidence, because of his deep commitment to Christ, because of his level — you know, he’s been through a long, hard time.” Gingrich said In an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday. “He had a lot of concussions from football, suffered from PTSD.”
This is not a good defense. Not because concussions aren’t a serious problem, but because attributing them to problems in Walker’s life is apparently a stretch. (Walker has spoken publicly about his struggles with dissociative identity disorder.)
Walker said it himself in a 2013 interview with USA Today.
“Everybody blames everything on the concussions,” Walker said. “The NFL has a problem. He must define the difference between concussions and depression. If players lose money, or lose their wife or children because of what they are doing, they will act differently. But you can’t throw everything in one shot.”
Of course, we know much more about the impact of shocks today than we did in 2013. But is Gingrich suggesting that Walker should be judged differently because of his years in football?
John Ellis, a conservative writer, was much more scathing. Of Walker he wrote:
“It’s painful to watch. Walker should not be running for United States Senate. Not qualified. He won’t know what to do when (and when) he gets to Washington. It’s only on the card because former President Trump endorsed it. The moment it becomes Trump’s responsibility, Trump will release it. So does everyone else. Nobody cares about Herschel Walker in GOP circles (or any other circles, for that matter). If Georgia Republicans were to vote to replace him today, they would do so in a nanosecond. They can’t It’s too late.”
Needless to say, this is no the debate Walker wants to have with less than five weeks left in the campaign. Even more problematic for Walker is the fact that Republicans are arguing among themselves.
But the “concussion” tour is emblematic of a party struggling to save its candidacy in one of the country’s most critical races, one that could decide which party controls the Senate in 2023.
Polls have been sparse since the abortion allegations became public, so it’s hard to know how they will affect her race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. But given the disappointment of the GOP tour, they are very worried.