Trump-endorsed Georgia senate candidate Herschel Walker, a Republican who has frequently bemoaned the damage caused by fatherless households, recently disclosed that he has a second son, who until now was not in the public eye.
The acknowledgement came in response to an exclusive report broke by The Daily Beast, in which the outlet uncovered how the NFL superstar had a 10-year-old son with a woman who sued Mr Walker for paternity in order to receive child support one year after the child was born.
Both the mother and son’s names were withheld by the news outlet in order to protect their privacy, but they disclosed that the paternity case wasn’t resolved until August 2014, at which point the child was 2 years old.
In the spring, the former Heisman Trophy winner secured the GOP Senate nomination and is now tasked with facing off against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in November’s midterms.
Throughout his primary campaign and in other public addresses, Mr Walker has cited his relationship with his other son, 22-year-old Christian, propping up his image of being a family values politician, while simultaneously calling out fatherless households, specifically within the Black community.
In a controversial interview in September 2020, the football star turned Republican politician said: “I want to apologise to the African-American community, because the fatherless home is a major, major problem.”
More recently, the Georgian politician told right-wing American bloggers Diamond and Silk in a 2021 interview that “if you have a child with a woman, even if you have to leave that woman … you don’t leave the child.”
“The father leaves in the Black family. He leaves the boys alone so they’ll be raised by their mom,” Mr Walker said before making a controversial comparison to the dynamic being not too dissimilar to the separations that took place during the era of slavery.
Mr Walker, who has co-parented his 22-year-old son with his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, alongside his current wife, Julie Blanchard, has prided himself for being a good father throughout his years in the public light. In a 2019 interview, he was quoted as saying that, outside of football, being a good father was his greatest accomplishment.
Representatives for Mr Herschel responded to questions from The Independent by citing a statement from his campaign manager, Scott Paradise, who said that the Senate candidate was being treated with a “double standard” because his opponent, Mr Warnock, was dealing with his own custody battles.
“Herschel had a child years ago when he wasn’t married. He’s supported the child and continues to do so. He’s proud of his children. To suggest that Herschel is ‘hiding’ the child because he hasn’t used him in his political campaign is offensive and absurd,” said Mr Paradise in an emailed statement.
“Raphael Warnock is currently engaged in both a nasty mudslinging campaign and a nasty custody dispute with his ex-wife. He’s dodged voters by sealing the case and even has tried to dodge authorities,” he added, referencing the custody dispute that the Democratic Senate candidate is involved in with his ex-wife where she has asked that child support payments be reassessed since her ex-husband’s salary has increased since he assumed office last year.
In the lead up to the midterms, Mr Walker’s first wife has brought forward allegations of the Georgia Senate hopeful being “physically abusive”, claiming that on one occasion, he threatened to “blow” her brains out and later received a protective order against her ex-husband, which led to a judge temporarily removed Mr Walker’s right to carry a gun, the Associated Press reported.
For his part, Mr Walker has said in recent interviews that he’s “accountable” for his previous alleged violent actions against his ex-wife, and that others shouldn’t be “ashamed” about facing issues concerning their mental health, but he didn’t go into specifics in those conversations and maintained that he has never broken the law.