Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia who has been a vocal critic of absentee fathers in Black households, acknowledged Tuesday that he has a second son with whom he has little interaction.
The acknowledgment came after the Daily Beast reported that Walker has a 10-year-old son, and that the boy’s mother sued the football legend to obtain a declaration of paternity and child support. By the time Walker was ordered to pay child support in August 2014, the child had already taken his last name, according to the Daily Beast.
Scott Paradise, Walker’s campaign manager, confirmed in a statement to The Washington Post early Wednesday that Walker has a second son.
“Herschel had a child years ago when he wasn’t married. He’s supported the child and continues to do so,” Paradise said. “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.”
While Walker has won the hearts of former president Donald Trump and GOP voters, he has faced blowback from critics and Democrats for false claims he made before and during his candidacy that have surfaced in recent months — from his education and alleged background working law enforcement to his questioning of evolution and promoting a “mist” he said would “kill any covid on your body.”
The latest came Monday when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on previous speeches and statements given by Walker about how he claimed he had worked with police in Cobb County, Ga., and was an FBI agent. Former DeKalb County district attorney J. Tom Morgan, a Democrat, told The Post that the “honorary deputy” title promoted by Walker’s campaign as his link to law enforcement is equivalent to “a junior ranger badge.”
Walker, who won more than 68 percent of the vote in last month’s Republican primary — is also among the 100-plus GOP primary winners who have supported Trump’s false claims that there was widespread fraud during the 2020 presidential election, according to a new Post analysis.
Walker has often spoken of the strong relationship he has with his 22-year-old son, Christian, on the campaign trail as part of his efforts to unseat freshman Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) in November. Warnock is also facing a child-custody dispute, as his ex-wife is suing him to have the child support payments “recalculated” based on his increased income since coming to the Senate, according to the Journal-Constitution. Paradise argued to The Post that the child-support situations between the Senate candidates shows “a complete double standard.”
“Rev. Warnock is a devoted father who is proud to continue to co-parent his two children as he works for the people of Georgia,” Meredith Brasher, a spokeswoman for the Warnock campaign, said in a statement.
Before and during his candidacy, Walker has repeatedly talked about how proud he is to be a father. He’s also been outspoken about how fathers, especially those in the Black community, needed to be present and active in their children’s lives.
In 2020, Walker told Charlie Kirk, chief executive of the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA, that absentee fathers in Black households was a significant issue.
“I want to apologize to the African American community, because the fatherless home is a major, major problem,” he said at the time, adding that he was “like a father” to many young people in his hometown in Georgia.
He reiterated those sentiments last year to conservative social media stars Diamond and Silk, comparing a Black father leaving his family to separations during slavery.
“The father leaves in the Black family. He leaves the boys alone so they’ll be raised by their mom,” he said in a 2021 interview. “If you have a child with a woman, even if you have to leave that woman — even if you have to leave that woman — you don’t leave that child.”
But several years earlier, Walker was petitioned to prove his paternity and pay child support. Walker and the woman, who is not publicly identified, had a relationship between 2008 and 2011, according to a 2013 petition from attorney Andres Alonso. The petition states that the two separated about eight months before the child was born on May 31, 2012, in New York County.
“The child’s mother is a graduate student at Columbia University struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, Mr. Walker has thus far decided not to take full financial responsibility for the care of his alleged son,” the petition stated at the time. “We hope that with the filing of the petition Mr. Walker will finally acknowledge the true extent of his support obligations.”
More than a year later, Walker was ordered to pay child support for a boy who was already more than 2 years old.
Walker was met with criticism from Democrats, such as CNN analyst Bakari Sellers, a former Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives: “.@HerschelWalker out here lecturing Black men on fatherhood and ain’t seen his kid since Obama’s first term,” he tweeted.
A new poll this week from East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research shows Walker and Warnock to be in a dead heat less than five months before the midterm election.