Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, has insisted the police badge he flashed during his debate Friday against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is real, even though there’s no evidence he’s ever worked in law enforcement.
“That’s a badge that I was given by a police officer and I do have the badge I carry with me all the time. It’s a real badge. It’s not a fake badge,” Walker told NBC’s Kristen Welker, according to a transcript of the interview sent to HuffPost.
Walker, a former football star, pulled out the badge on Friday after his opponent called him out for falsely claiming in the past that he had worked in law enforcement. It earned him a rebuke from a moderator for using a prop, which is against the rules.
During NBC’s interview, which airs Monday on “Today,” Walker was asked where he got the badge.
The transcript of his response read:
“This badge is from um – this badge. I have badges from all over the- all over Georgia, even from Chatham County. I had to wait- wait- I had from Chatham County which is a county, which is a county, uh, which is a county from- *SHOWS BADGE* oh I have it upside down. Right, which is a county from where Senator Warnock is from. I have an honorary Sheriff badge for that county with limited rights.”
“Where is this one from?” Welker pressed.
“This is from my hometown,” the Republican answered. “From the sheriff from Johnson County, which is a legit badge.”
“Everyone can make fun, but this badge give me the right … If anything happened in this county. I have the right to work with the police getting things done,” he insisted. “People that don’t know that. I’ve been working with law enforcement for years. I do training program but they get to get credit for it. I do a program, a leadership program. I do health and wellness programs. I visit prisons.”
Honorary badges do not give arresting authority. Welker noted that the National Sheriffs Association has said that an honorary badge is “for the trophy case.”
But Walker insisted that was “totally not true.”
In August, he posted an image of an honorary deputy sheriff card reportedly given to him by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, saying he was “proud to serve the blue as an honorary agent.” It sparked widespread mockery.
Walker’s campaign has been marred by repeated scandals, including the recent allegation that he paid for the abortion of a woman he was dating in 2009 despite his strong anti-abortion stance, domestic abuse allegations from multiple women, revelations he had fathered secret children and exaggerations about his background and qualifications.