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Herschel Walker says abortion ‘nothing to be ashamed of,’ but supports ban

Herschel Walker, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for Georgia, speaks at a primary watch party on May 23 at the Foundry restaurant in Athens, Ga. (Akili-Casundria Ramsess/AP)

Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, is denying the latest reports from the Daily Beast that he for paid a former girlfriend to have an abortion — and that the woman is the mother of one of his children.

In an interview Thursday morning with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Walker reiterated his denials of the Daily Beast’s reporting.

“I know this is untrue. I know it’s untrue, and they keep telling me things like that, and it’s totally, totally untrue,” Walker said on the “Hugh Hewitt Show.” “And I’m not sure why that would be told. I know nothing about any woman having an abortion. And they can keep coming at me like that, and they’re doing it because they want to distract people.”

In a muddled answer, Walker repeatedly brought up that he had already been forgiven. And although he has campaigned in support of a national abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy, Walker suggested to Hewitt that there would have been no shame in having undergone the procedure.

“I hate to say I’ve been born again, but I have a new life. And I’ve been moving forward, and had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of there,” Walker said. “You know, people have done that, but I know nothing about it. And if I knew about it, I would be honest and talk about it, but I know nothing about that.”

The Daily Beast reported Monday that Walker had paid for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009, and that the woman had provided proof of their relationship, along with a “get well” card Walker had sent her after the procedure. After Walker publicly denied the story as a “flat-out lie” and said he didn’t know who the former girlfriend could be, the woman — whom the Daily Beast had kept anonymous — went back to the news outlet to say she was the mother of one of Walker’s children.

“Sure, I was stunned, but I guess it also doesn’t shock me, that maybe there are just so many of us that he truly doesn’t remember,” she told the Daily Beast. “But then again, if he really forgot about it, that says something, too.”

The Washington Post has not been able to independently confirm the Daily Beast reports.

Herschel Walker, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, denied a report that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009 on Fox News on Oct. 3. (Video: Fox News)

“As I have already said, there is no truth to this or any other Daily Beast report,” Walker’s campaign said in a statement Wednesday night.

Roger Sollenberger, the Daily Beast reporter who broke the stories — as well as others earlier this year about “secret” children Walker had fathered with women who were not his ex-wife — said the outlet was standing by its reporting.

“Just want to point out that while Herschel Walker claims ‘there’s no truth’ to ‘any’ Daily Beast report, he literally confirmed *both* of my Daily Beast reports about his secret kids,” Sollenberger said in a series of Twitter posts. “He confirmed the reports himself and has never asked for a correction … I mean, the campaign can just have him pull up his bank statements and see for themselves.”

Walker is challenging Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock in one of the most closely watched Senate contests of the year. The outcome of the race, which polls show is competitive, is expected to help determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years.

As he runs for Senate, Walker has campaigned as a strict opponent of abortion rights. He has said he opposes abortion without any exceptions and has voiced support for a proposed national ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

At a campaign event Thursday at a lumberyard in Wadley, Ga., Walker did not address the allegations, instead launching into a stump speech about his childhood, his football career and various other life stories. He repeatedly alluded to his faith in God and to parables about the importance of staying positive, then left the stage after about 15 minutes. A small crowd of people wearing hard hats applauded throughout Walker’s brief appearance.

Taking a few questions afterward, Walker once again denied the Daily Beast’s reporting. He said he had not reached out to any of the mothers of his children.

“The abortion thing is false. It’s a lie,” he said.

Walker insisted he was “not going to back down” and vowed to win the race.

“I’m here to win the seat for the Georgia people because the Georgia people need a winner,” he said. A small group around him broke out into chants of “USA! USA!” afterward.

Walker was also asked about a recent CNN interview in which Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) said Walker’s baggage was becoming “unbearable.”

“If we’re being intellectually honest, Herschel Walker won the primary because he scored a bunch of touchdowns back in the ’80s, and he was Donald Trump’s friend," Duncan told CNN. "And now we’ve moved forward several months on the calendar and that’s no longer a recipe to win.”

On Thursday, Walker appeared not to know who Duncan was.

“Oh, what is he doing now?” Walker asked reporters.

“Lieutenant governor,” one of them responded.

“Yeah, but what is he doing now? He’s, uh, working for who?” Walker asked again.

“For the state of Georgia,” another reporter added.

The Daily Beast’s latest reports also prompted one of Walker’s children, who previously supported his father, to publicly criticize Walker on social media.

On Monday evening, Christian Walker alleged in a video posted to Twitter that his father “threatened to kill us” and caused him and his mother to move six times in six months “running from your violence.”

“I don’t care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability,” Christian Walker tweeted. “But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man.’ You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives. How dare you.”

Annie Linskey and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed to this report.

The 2022 Midterm Elections

Georgia runoff election: Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) won re-election in the Georgia Senate runoff, defeating Republican challenger Herschel Walker and giving Democrats a 51st seat in the Senate for the 118th Congress. Get live updates here and runoff results by county.

Divided government: Republicans narrowly won back control of the House, while Democrats will keep control of the Senate, creating a split Congress.

What the results mean for 2024: A Republican Party red wave seems to be a ripple after Republicans fell short in the Senate and narrowly won control in the House. Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign shortly after the midterms. Here are the top 10 2024 presidential candidates for the Republicans and Democrats.