Warnock says Walker ‘crossed a line’ with attacks on his family

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock said Republican Herschel Walker “crossed a line” ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff when he escalated his personal attacks against his rival by accusing the Democrat of being a negligent father to his two young children.

“I know that politics is ugly. People play all kinds of games, unfortunately. But Herschel Walker and his allies have crossed a line where my family is concerned,” Warnock said in an interview.

“I want to set the record straight: My children live with me. I am present with my children in every way that a father should be, from breakfast in the morning to bedtime prayers at night. I can’t continue to let him lie about our family.”

The comments came after Walker claimed the Democrat didn’t “keep his own kids” at a campaign stop in Augusta.

“Why don’t he keep his own kids? Don’t have nobody keep your kids. You keep your kids,” said Walker. “And he’s got somebody else keep – I keep my own even though he lied about me. It’s okay. It’s okay because he’s trying to get your vote.”

The Democrat said that Walker’s “hypocrisy is almost too much to bear.”

“To say that he lacks self-awareness is an understatement. We have only learned about most of his children during this race,” Warnock said. “There are two men in this campaign. One has been missing in action for his family – and that person is not me.”

Credit: Daniel Vernando for the AJC

Credit: Daniel Vernando for the AJC

Walker has often talked about his 22-year-old son Christian Walker, but he later acknowledged three more children he hadn’t previously publicly mentioned. The mother of one of those kids accused him of pressuring her to get an abortion, an allegation Walker called a “flat-out lie.”

Walker has also been accused by another woman of pushing her to terminate her pregnancy, which he also denied. The allegations undercut his stance opposing the procedure, which Walker has said he would ban even in the case of rape or incest. And they drew criticism from Christian, who urged his father to use birth control.

On the campaign trail, the Republican has highlighted Warnock’s child custody dispute with his ex-wife. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday trumpeted a report asserting he used campaign cash to pay for childcare “the few occasions he actually saw his kids.”

In a statement Wednesday, Walker’s campaign said Warnock’s family is fair game.

“Raphael Warnock doesn’t want his family talked about even though he and his allies have no problem with Herschel’s family being attacked,” said Walker spokesman Will Killey.

He added: “Raphael Warnock doesn’t want to be called names but has no problem with his liberal friends calling Herschel every derogatory, offensive, and racist name in the book.”

Warnock’s aides said his two children live with him full time. In the interview, the Democrat said he felt compelled to “respond as a dad” to the criticism from Walker and his allies.

“My children are the two brightest stars in my universe - my reason for just about everything I do,” said Warnock. “They are in my care. And they lack for nothing.”