Past comments from ex-football star Herschel Walker promoting a “dry mist” that would “kill any Covid on your body” have come under renewed scrutiny ahead of his Senate campaign in Georgia.
The candidate in the tight race against incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock made the comments about 17 months ago, as the pandemic spread across the US, during a podcast in August 2020.
While the video has been publicly available online and seen at least 80,000 times on YouTube alone, the exchange with podcaster Glenn Beck began to circulate online after The Daily Beast reported on Mr Walker’s “snake oil body spray”.
Mr Walker indicated the potential controversy his comments would attract by telling Mr Beck he probably shouldn’t say anything about the spray he claimed would kill Covid, which does not appear to exist in any of the pandemic guidelines from public health organisations.
“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? As you walk through the door, it will kill any Covid on your body. EPA-, FDA-approved,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Mr Beck seemingly didn’t want to hear more about it either as he quickly moved the conversation along, with raised eyebrows, without any further probing into the potentially game-changing wonder-spray.
Mr Walker did not respond to questions about the air-based prophylactic, whether he has used it personally, and if he maintains the views 17 months after originally making the comments in the early days of the pandemic.
Timing of the comments resurfacing comes as the US’ political machine grinds toward the 2022 midterm elections. Mr Walker also faces questions about decade-old threats he allegedly made to ex-girlfriend Myka Dean, who told police in 2012 that Mr Walker threatened to “blow her head off”, and kill himself, when she tried to end the relationship.
No charges were filed and Mr Walker has denied the accusations. His spokeswoman Mallory Blount said in a statement to The Journal-Constitution the “baseless allegations are surfacing a decade later purely for political mudslinging, which is irresponsible and wrong”.
The Democratic Party of Georgia did not respond to whether they played a role in resurfacing Mr Walker’s comments from 2020 ahead of The Daily Beast’s reporting of them in 2022.
The party’s spokesman Dan Gottlieb, however, said in a press release Mr Walker’s “snake oil solutions for Covid-19”, among other things, have “proven he’s unfit for public office in the midst of a public health crisis”.
Whoever wins the Republican primary will be in a tight race with Senator Warnock, the first Democrat to win in the state since 1992.
With Mr Walker receiving the endorsement of the GOP’s Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and backing from the party’s donor class, his likely match up with Mr Warnock is evenly split across two polls from Public Policy Polling and Trafalgar Group.