MILTON, Ga. ― It seemed like things couldn’t get much worse for Herschel Walker on Monday night. The Daily Beast had just dropped its explosive story showing evidence that the Republican Senate candidate in Georgia once paid for his girlfriend to get an abortion. The news undercut Walker’s insistence that he is “pro-life” and backs abortion bans with no exceptions.
But then everything got much worse.
Walker’s son Christian, a 23-year-old conservative with his own following on social media, started attacking his dad publicly for the first time.
“I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us,” he tweeted. “You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.”
Herschel Walker has presented himself as a Christian family man. One of his campaign ads even builds on this theme, with Walker stating, “Georgia is my family. The United States is my family. So I’m going to fight to take care of them.”
But Christian Walker’s comments broke that image. He also backed up his mother’s allegations of domestic abuse, alleging that Walker was violent toward him as well.
And since then, many Republicans have dismissed Christian as a disgruntled, troublesome kid.
Cynthia Berglund, a dental hygienist from Milton, Georgia, said she had a “hard time believing somebody that kept receipts from that long ago,” referring to the former girlfriend. She also wasn’t convinced by Walker’s son, suggesting Walker’s ex-wife may be responsible for turning her son against his father.
“Divorces are shitty,” Berglund, a registered Republican, told HuffPost on Thursday outside a Walmart on the outskirts of Atlanta. “A lot of times the kids take sides depending on how the parents behave. I’ve seen a lot of moms just poison their kids against their father. And fathers poison kids against moms. That I take with a grain of salt.”
I’ve got to get back to him and spank him.Herschel Walker, joking about his son Christian
Walker was married to Cindy DeAngelis Grossman, Christian’s mother, from 1983 to 2002. She has alleged that Walker choked her and threatened her with guns and knives.
“The first time he held the gun to my head, he held the gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out,” she said in a 2008 interview.
“I stayed silent as the atrocities against my mom were downplayed,” Christian said in another social media post Tuesday. “You have no idea what me and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on Day 1.”
On Monday night, Walker tweeted, “I LOVE my son no matter what.” In an interview Wednesday morning on Fox News, when asked about the “damage” his son is doing to his campaign, Walker somewhat nonsensically replied, “The damage he’s doing, he’s letting people know that the left will do whatever they can to win this seat.” He reiterated that he loves his son “unconditionally.”
At a lunch event in Atlanta on Tuesday, Walker joked about how he needs to spank his 23-year-old son ― perhaps not the best joke for someone who has been accused of violence against that son.
In the audio shared with HuffPost, Walker started to recount a story he once told his son and added as an aside, “I’ve got to get back to him and spank him.”
Walker’s campaign didn’t return a request for comment.
Christian didn’t seem to be getting much support from some Republicans. One GOP official close to Herschel Walker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Christian was a “deeply disturbed kid with obvious issues of his own” who is “a spoiled brat and is solely to blame if Herschel loses the race.”
A writer on the conservative site RedState called Christian a “mouthy, ungrateful little punk.”
Christian didn’t reply when asked for comment from HuffPost, but in a video he posted online, he said he’s been hearing from people wondering why he appeared to support his father’s Senate run initially.
“You know nothing about my life,” he said. “My parents went through a dirty divorce, I went through a lot as a child. And you don’t know anything. You don’t know the ebbs and flows of our relationship. Nobody knows anything. So for everyone making these wild theories and whatever, that’s crazy. This is about a bunch of lies.”
Asked about Christian Walker calling his dad a liar, Wanda Bettis, a part-time cook from northern Georgia, shrugged and said, “We’re all sinners.”
“We’ve all done some things we’re not proud of,” she told HuffPost. “I’m sure he’s done some things he’s not proud of. You can’t blame him always for things he’s done in the past.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.