Herschel Walker on Friday doubled down on his widely debunked claims that he was once a member of law enforcement. When the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia was called out over those claims during a debate against Sen. Raphael Warnock, he produced what appeared to be a badge.
It was a wild moment prompted in part by Warnock, who challenged Walker during an exchange about policing in America.
“I’ve never pretended to be a police officer and I’ve never threatened a shootout with the police,” Warnock said in reference to reports that Walker did just that.
It was at that moment that Walker pulled out an apparent police badge as purported proof of having a background in law enforcement years ago. He was quickly admonished by debate moderator Tina Tyus-Shaw, who reminded him that the debate rules forbid the use of any “prop.”
“I worked in law enforcement, so I had a gun,” Walker told a U.S. Army audience, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2017, he specifically said, “I work with the Cobb County Police Department.”
AJC noted that walker’s campaign claimed he was “an honorary deputy” with the Cobb County Sheriff’s office. However, the department told AJC that it has no record of Walker ever working there.
Walker also said in 2019, “I spent time at Quantico at the FBI training school. Y’all didn’t know I was an agent?”
This past August, Walker made the false claims again.
“While @ReverendWarnock was calling law enforcement ‘thugs and bullies’ I was proud to serve the blue as an Honorary Agent and Special Deputy Sheriff of Cobb County for many years,” Walker tweeted at the time.
While anticipation for the debate reached a fever pitch in recent weeks before, it was unclear whether Walker would actually follow through with his commitment to debate Warnock on Friday night. That’s because of a few reasons, including the fact that Walker is just not a very good public speaker, to put it mildly. But aside from his quasi-intelligible speech, there was an apparent trend underway among Republicans not fulfilling their promises to participate in debates.
That was true in Texas when Republican Gov. Greg Abbot was scheduled to square off against Democrat Beto O’Rourke on Monday night. Instead, Abbot just plain didn’t show up at all.
That seemed to be the case last week in Kentucky when Republican Sen. Rand Paul similarly skipped out on his debate against Charles Booker, who called his rival candidate a “coward” for not showing up.
Considering some of the tactics we’ve seen from Walker during this debate – including an attack this week disingenuously accusing Warnock of being a slumlord who evicts his tenants (he doesn’t) – having him turn up missing for the debate wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Meanwhile, Warnock was going into the debate looking to shore up his second candidacy for the same office in less than two years. It was only last year when he beat Kelly Loeffler to win her Senate seat in a special election that included a runoff that took place one day before the infamous insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.