After a woman revealed that Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker had urged her to have an abortion, Walker adamantly denied the story and claimed he had no idea who this woman could be.
But there's a good reason the woman finds that defense highly doubtful: She's the mother of one of his children.
When the woman first told The Daily Beast her story, we agreed not to reveal certain details about her identity over her concerns for safety and privacy. But then Walker categorically denied the story and said he didn't know who was making this allegation.
On Wednesday morning, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked Walker whether he had figured out the woman's identity, based on details in the original report.
"Not at all," Walker replied. "And that's what I hope everyone can see. It's sort of like everyone is anonymous, or everyone is leaking, and they want you to confess to something you have no clue about."
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Walker then spun the report as an attack from "desperate" Democrats eager to maintain control of the pivotal Senate seat. Instead of being deterred by his now-public hypocrisy, he said he now feels "energized."
"They see me as a big threat, and I know that and I knew it when I got into this race. But they don't realize that I think they came for the wrong one. They energized me," Walker said. "They energized me, because I know how they really want to try to keep this seat."
The anonymous woman said that defense sounded ridiculous.
"Sure, I was stunned, but I guess it also doesn't shock me, that maybe there are just so many of us that he truly doesn't remember," she said. "But then again, if he really forgot about it, that says something, too."
The woman, a registered Democrat whose years-long relationship with Walker continued after the abortion, told The Daily Beast that her chief concern with revealing her name was because she is the mother of one of Walker's own children and she wanted to protect her family's privacy as best she could while also coming forward with the truth. (Walker has publicly acknowledged the child as his own, and the woman proved she is the child's mother and provided credible evidence of a long-term relationship with Walker.)
The Walker campaign declined to comment for this story.
But even with the woman remaining anonymous, the story has still rocked Walker's family in other ways.
After Walker denied the report, one of his three sons, conservative social media influencer Christian Walker, released a series of angry statements and videos condemning his dad as a liar, and alleging that the University of Georgia football hero had threatened to murder him and his mother-Walker's ex-wife.
"I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us," Christian Walker tweeted after the abortion story broke Monday night. "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."
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The anonymous woman said that while she's been a "good sport" about the campaign, after Walker's denial, she could no longer keep this information from the public.
"I've been very civil thus far. I keep my mouth shut. I don't cause any trouble. I stay in the background. But I'm also not gonna get run over time and time again," she said. "That's crazy."
Walker and his campaign have put out seemingly conflicting messages to battle the story, denying it on one hand as a "lie" while also appealing to themes of religious redemption and forgiveness on the other. On Wednesday, Walker put out a new ad where he discusses overcoming his struggles with mental health "by the grace of God."
But if Walker is seeking redemption for the abortion, that would be a recent shift. He lied about his role in abortions just this year-once in a June interview with The Daily Beast, and later to a Democratic activist posing as a Walker supporter, who caught his denials on video.
Asked about the role faith played in Walker's life, the anonymous woman, who identifies as a Christian herself, said even though Walker often talked about Christianity, he uses it "when it works for him."
She said Walker frequently talked about being a Christian, but never once expressed any misgivings about abortion generally-or any regret about the one that they had. When she got pregnant again years later, the woman says she made a different choice, even though Walker said it still wasn't "a convenient time" for him.
"He didn't express any regret. He said, 'relax and recover,'" the woman recalled, alluding to the message on the "get well" card Walker sent her along with the abortion payment.
"He seemed pretty pro-choice to me. He was pro-choice, obviously," she said.
"I don't think there's anywhere in the Bible where it says 'have four kids with four different women while you're with another woman.' Or where it praises not being a present parent. Or that an abortion is an OK thing to do when it's not the right time for you, but a terrible thing for anyone else to do when you are running for Senate. He picks and chooses where it's convenient for him to use that religious crutch," she said.
The campaign has used the woman's desire to remain anonymous to raise money, saying in its first fundraising email after the news broke that "Now, they're using an anonymous source to further slander me."
Asked how she felt about the campaign's boast that Walker saw record-setting contributions in the hours after he called her a liar, the woman said she hoped they would give the money away.
"It would be really nice if when he loses they would turn that money over to someone who needs it," she said. "Maybe to a mental health organization. It would be really nice of them, instead of taking that and putting it in some other politician's pockets, they used it to help someone else."
Walker finds his campaign in crisis as election day is a month away. The outcome of the race could tip the balance of the Senate, and polls are tight. Recent surveys taken before the abortion news broke show Walker narrowly trailing his Democratic opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock.
But the woman's allegation has reframed the race and sent Republicans scrambling.
According to The Daily Beast's reporting, after Walker and the woman first conceived a child in 2009, he urged her to have an abortion and then reimbursed her for it. The woman provided a receipt from the clinic showing the date of the procedure, along with a signed personal check Walker had mailed her inside a "get well" card five days later.
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But many Republican backers and media personalities-including Walker himself-have seized on the woman's anonymity to dismiss the report. On Tuesday, former National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch called her "one broad" and a "skank."
On the whole, however, the story has clearly had traction.
"It's good to see my story has been so well received," the woman said, "because I'm telling the truth. I'm not trying to glorify abortion-that's a very personal choice that everyone has to make for themselves-but I have no shame in it. It is what it is. It's part of my story, and what makes me who I am today."
The woman continued that she hopes her story makes other people feel less alone, "to maybe find comfort and a sense of dignity."
"You're not a monster, not a murderer," she continued. "These are real life decisions that can completely change your life. Making it so black-and-white makes it easy for these old men to say it's wrong or it's right, but they've never been put in a position where it's done to their body."
She said it was wrong, however, for Walker to use abortion when it suited him personally and try to deny others the procedure when it suits him politically.
"He didn't accept responsibility for the kid we did have together, and now he isn't accepting responsibility for the one that we didn't have. That says so much about how he views the role of women in childbirth, versus his own. And now he wants to take that choice away from other women and couples entirely," she said.
"This was a decision I had to make-twice-about my future and a potential child's future, and I was able to make it, both times. And Herschel was also able to have a say. The fact he now thinks it's OK to just take that away," she said, "I just can't understand."
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