(WASHINGTON) — Leading Republicans this week either voiced support or stayed silent on Herschel Walker after the Georgia GOP Senate hopeful denied an ex-girlfriend’s claim that he paid for her to have an abortion in 2009.
Walker, who has campaigned as an anti-abortion candidate, dismissed the ex-girlfriend’s allegation, which was reported by The Daily Beast on Monday.
“It’s a lie,” Walker said on Fox News.
Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and former President Donald Trump backed Walker after his response to the story.
“Herschel has properly denied the charges against him, and I have no doubt he is correct,” Trump, who endorsed Walker earlier in this campaign, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Daily Beast reported that the unidentified woman provided them with documentation to support her account of Walker’s involvement in her abortion: a receipt from an abortion clinic, a bank deposit receipt with an image of a $700 check that she said was signed by Walker sent within a week of the abortion and also a “get well” card that she said was signed by Walker.
But Trump and some of these other Republicans argued that The Daily Beast’s reporting was the latest example of what they called a larger dynamic: The news media amplifying personal allegations against Republicans or Republican-aligned figures in a bid to aid Democrats.
The GOP politicians backing Walker did not respond to the specific details of the ex-girlfriend’s account, such as what she said was documentation.
Walker, when pressed on Fox News on Monday, side-stepped a question about the check the woman said he sent her: “I send money to a lot of people.”
ABC News has not independently confirmed The Daily Beast report.
“Herschel Walker is being slandered and maligned by the Fake News Media and obviously, the Democrats,” Trump said in his statement.
Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRCC) said in a statement on Tuesday that Democrats will “lie, cheat, and smear” because Walker is “winning” against Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
“Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too,” Scott said.
The NRCC is a top donor to Walker’s campaign. Another of his biggest financial boostesr, the Senate Leadership Fund, said it wasn’t changing its support.
“We are full speed ahead in Georgia,” Steven Law, the group’s president said, in a statement.
The super PAC is aligned with GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell — though McConnell, who has backed Walker throughout his campaign, has not publicly commented on The Daily Beast story.
McDaniels, the RNC chair, also said that the party would continue to “invest” in Walker.
“Georgia could decide the Senate majority, so desperate Democrats and liberal media have turned to anonymous sources and character assassination. This is an attempt to distract from Warnock’s record of failure,” McDaniels said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sen. Graham, like Trump, contended that coverage of the abortion allegation and Walker’s denial were part of a pattern of news outlets picking up anonymous claims without doing due diligence.
“This is the way the media world works today for conservative Republicans,” Graham wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.
One conservative not supporting Walker was his son Christian Walker, a social media personality who publicly denounced him in a series of social media posts this week: “You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples [sic] lives,” Christian Walker wrote in one tweet.
Ralph Reed, a Walker backer and the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told The New York Times that, in his view, “100%” of evangelical Christians support Walker, too.
One local religious figure agreed. Walker held a fundraiser lunch with supporters on Wednesday. There, Bishop Dr. James Mason, who grew up with Walker in Wrightsville, Georgia, told ABC News that he didn’t believe the report.
“They’ll probably be more allegations … All things are possible,” Mason said. “But until it’s proven, which you can’t prove a lie. You can only lie to cover up a lie.”
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