That comment comes after Cobb officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they could find no evidence Walker worked for them.
Warren, who was voted out of office in 2020, said Walker led training on leadership and advocated for mental health.
For Walker, it’s part of a strategy that seems to be emerging from his revamped campaign: Don’t apologize or back away from perceived missteps. Instead, double down. It’s a tactic that appears to be lifted from the playbook of former President Donald Trump.
Take Walker’s puzzling comments on climate change just a few days earlier at an event the media was blocked from attending.
“Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air. So when China gets our good air, their bad air gotta move,” Walker said to a group of supporters in Hall County. He also asserted, without evidence, that China “created” the COVID-19 pandemic.
A video of the remarks was roundly mocked on social media. Walker’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise, offered a clarification: The Republican meant to say China was “primarily responsible for causing COVID and polluting the air.” But he didn’t walk back the statements.
Instead, he lobbed the ball into the court of Walker’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.
“Please ask Reverend Warnock if he disagrees,” Paradise said in a text.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Walker told News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB that he was “really just being funny” when he made the original comment. But he also said he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about because China is the globe’s top polluter.
The Warnock campaign countered by saying that if Walker really wanted to stand up to China he would encourage GOP leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to allow passage of a multibillion-dollar bipartisan package aimed at countering Beijing by bolstering U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors.
“Herschel Walker has been silent on his own party’s efforts to block critical bipartisan legislation to support and grow Georgia jobs and ensure the U.S. can better compete with China,” said Meredith Brasher, Warnock’s communications director.
Warnock, she said, has been working across the aisle to make the bill happen.
The tactic emerges amidst a shakeup on Walker’s campaign team following weeks of damaging revelations.
Republican strategist Brian Robinson, who worked for one of Walker’s opponents in the Senate primary, called the double-down strategy reasonable in a political environment shaped by Trump’s refusal to apologize for fiery rhetoric blamed for whipping up violent attacks.
“I think this is the new normal for Republican candidates,” Robinson said. “It’s a lasting legacy of Trump to some degree.”
He said while the media narrative is still important to some parts of the population, many Republican and independent voters get their information elsewhere.
“So stick to you message and keep driving it and they will stick with you,” he said.
It isn’t working for Melanie McNally, an independent from east Cobb, who a few months ago said she was undecided in the U.S. Senate race.
“He seems to not be ethical and not be trustworthy,” she said of Walker. “I don’t think he’s a good person.”
But Jane Sheppard, who lives on Lake Sinclair in Baldwin County, said she plans to vote for Walker.
“There is no politician out there that’s perfect,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s the media or political dirty tricks or what, but I think they are trying to make more out of things then they deserve.”