Herschel Walker is Donald Trump’s handpicked candidate for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Raphael Warnock. That’s really all you need to know to feel justified in withholding your vote, but there’s oh-so-much more, my lovely briny pickle pops.
Walker recently wondered—apparently without irony—why, if we evolved from apes, we still see apes in the wild today. That’s not just an awful and ignorant take, it’s not even original. You see, we didn’t evolve from apes. Not today’s apes, anyway. Modern apes and modern humans have a common ape-like ancestor that likely went extinct millions of years ago. How do we know that? If it were an extant species, Trump might have actually gotten the 80 million votes Mike Lindell claims he did.
This “common ancestor” thing isn’t exactly an esoteric idea. It’s easy to grasp if you have even a rudimentary understanding of evolutionary biology. And it’s the kind of thing people who graduate in the top 1% of their class at a major public university would surely know. On the other hand, it’s exactly the kind of thing you'd badly mangle if there was a partially masticated olive loaf where your brain was supposed to be.
In other words, the claim that Walker graduated in the top 1% of his class from the University of Georgia, where he was a once-in-a-generation football star, seems dubious. Because, well, it is dubious. Yet it’s exactly what Walker has been telling people:
For years, Herschel Walker has told the same inspiring story: that he graduated in the top 1% of his class at the University of Georgia. He's told the story, according to a review of his speeches by CNN's KFile, during motivational speeches over the years and as recently as 2017. The only problem: it's not true.
Walker did not graduate from Georgia, where he was a star running back after entering as a prized high school recruit. A profile of Walker from 1982 in the Christian-Science Monitor
and an article in The New York Times
said he maintained a B average at the school. Walker himself told The Chicago Tribune in 1985 he maintained a 3.0 before his grades dropped. He left to play professional football before graduating and, though having repeatedly said he was returning to obtain his degree, he never received a diploma.
Is it possible Walker believed he graduated in the top 1% of his class, even though he didn’t graduate at all? Well, Trump endorsed this very stable genius, so yes, it’s at least possible. But, I would argue, it’s still pretty unlikely.
Walker has also claimed he was the valedictorian of his high school class and—you guessed it—that’s not true either. Though, to be fair, he was by most accounts an accomplished student. That said, CNN’s reporting revealed that he wasn’t named valedictorian at his high school graduation, and a media review found the school didn’t actually name a valedictorian until 1994.
Walker’s campaign was unable to back up either of these claims, but it did come really close to saying that repeatedly lying to voters to make yourself look better is no big deal. (He is endorsed by Trump, after all.)
"There is not a single voter in Georgia who believes that whether Herschel graduated at the 'top of his class' or as Valedictorian 40 years ago has any bearing on his ability to be a great United States Senator," Mallory Blount, communications director for the campaign, said in a statement.
CNN notes that the campaign was also unable to explain why it removed the bit about Walker being his high school valedictorian from its website. That question prompted this rather surly response from Walker’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise: “Multiple reporters wrote about this 40 years ago. If you have a problem with what they wrote, please contact them. If you have a difficult time getting in touch with them, ask yourself why you are asking such a stupid question.”
Well, that’s not very nice, is it? And yet you share a common ancestor with this guy. Chilling, huh?
Of course, Walker has a very good chance of being the Republican nominee for Warnock’s Senate seat. He holds a wide lead over his competitors in the GOP primary, despite a hefty assortment of baggage that includes allegations of domestic abuse. Compared to that, his lies about his academic record are little more than a carry-on roller bag, but they’re still lies. And we should still care about them, particularly when they’re this brazen.
I know Trump made lying tres chic among rank-and-file Republicans, but most of us actually see that as a bad trend.
Hopefully Georgia wakes up before it’s too late, because this guy really could be the next big disgrace in a Congress that’s already lousy with such characters.
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