Former Georgia star Fran Tarkenton gave a shout-out to Bulldog fans at the Republican National Convention, and Georgia GOP chair bellowed “Gooooo Dawgs” on live TV. But perhaps the best known ex-Bulldog supporting Donald Trump had to turn down an invite to speak at the four-day meeting at the last minute.
Herschel Walker said in an interview Sunday that he had to cancel a visit to last week’s GOP bash in Cleveland to visit a sick friend in Detroit. But he suggested Donald Trump’s backers will be seeing him more of him on the campaign trail.
Walker, a retired NFL running back who played in Trump’s short-lived United States Football League, has been an outspoken supporter of the businessman. He’s declared that Trump “is not a racist” and that his critics are blowing his comments out of proportion.
“I’ve been a fan of Trump. I’ve known the Clintons for a long time. I’ve known both of them, but I’ve known Donald a lot longer,” Walker said after arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson. “That’s what makes it tough, I’ve just known Donald. I know the type of man he is. I know a lot of things they’ve said, it’s kind of sad. Because that’s not the way he is, and I know that’s not the way Donald is.”
The 54-year-old has said he’s paid a price of vouching for Trump, in lost speaking engagements and criticism from the African-American community. On Sunday, he said Trump is the candidate who can “represent the whole country.”
Walker, too, said he’s frustrated by the unrest over police violence that has spilled over into the streets of Atlanta and other cities across the nation.
“We have the right to vote, and that’s where the war should take place – in the voting booth, not out there in the streets hurting people and shooting people.”
Pressed for specifics on what he’ll do to campaign for Trump, Walker was tight-lipped.
“I’m going to do some stuff for him a little later,” he said with a smile.
Written by Greg Bluestein, a political reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.