As the coronavirus was sweeping across the United States last summer and the country was still without a vaccine, Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker promoted a “mist” that he claimed would “kill any covid on your body.”
The newly-unearthed comments bring renewed scrutiny to Walker, who is already facing criticism over allegations that he threatened the lives of two women, including his ex-wife, and embellished his business record.
There is no known mist or spray that can prevent covid-19. The virus is mainly spread through close contact with droplets that are released when a person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes. It can also be spread through smaller virus-containing particles that remain in the air over longer distances and time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Do you know, right now, I have something that can bring you into a building that would clean you from covid as you walk through this dry mist?” Walker said during the August 2020 appearance on conservative host Glenn Beck’s podcast. “As you walk through the door, it will kill any covid on your body. EPA-, FDA-approved.”
He continued: “When you leave, that will kill the virus, as you leave this here product. Then, I have something — you can go and spray down this product. Do you know? They don’t want to talk about that. They don’t want to hear about that.”
Walker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This year’s Georgia Senate contest is certain to be one of the most competitive in a state that narrowly backed President Biden, the first Democrat to win there since 1992. The winner of the Republican Senate primary will face Warnock, taking on a pastor who helped deliver the Senate majority to the Democrats.
Walker, a 59-year-old former University of Georgia running back and College Football Hall of Famer, officially entered the race in August and has since received support from a number of high-profile Republicans, despite having no significant experience in politics, as well as questions about his personal behavior, business record and residency. The former National Football League running back whose career was bookended with stints with the Dallas Cowboys has refused to say whether he is vaccinated.
In the months before Walker made his remark on Beck’s podcast, Trump repeatedly touted supposed coronavirus treatments that were not only unproven but also had the potential to cause great harm.
In April 2020, Trump suggested that scientists should test whether Americans could ingest bleach or other household disinfectants as “almost a cleaning” to fight the virus. He later walked back his suggestion after doctors, lawmakers and the makers of Lysol responded with incredulity and warnings against injecting or otherwise ingesting disinfectants, which are highly toxic.
Trump also raised the possibility of using heat or light to combat the virus, a suggestion that public health experts have also dismissed.
“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it,” Trump said at the time. “And then, I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.”
In recent months, Walker has garnered widespread support from Republican donors and lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who endorsed him in October despite reportedly having reservations about the allegations against him.
Cindy Grossman, Walker’s ex-wife, claimed in divorce filings that her former husband was physically abusive and threatened to kill her, forcing her to secure a protective order against him, alleging violent and controlling behavior.
She told ABC News in 2008 that Walker had pointed a pistol at her head before threatening to kill her.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year that Myka Dean, Walker’s ex-girlfriend, told police in 2012 that when she tried to end her relationship with Walker, he threatened to “blow her head off” and then kill himself.
Dean described the alleged threats made by Walker to authorities in Irving, Tex. The Journal-Constitution obtained the police report. No charges were filed against Walker.
Walker denies the accusations.
“These baseless allegations are surfacing a decade later purely for political mudslinging, which is irresponsible and wrong,” Walker campaign spokeswoman Mallory Blount said in a statement to the Journal-Constitution after the story published.
Allyson Chiu, Eugene Scott and Lena H. Sun contributed to this report.