PERRY, Georgia — All of the standard components were a part of Saturday’s Trump rally — copious amounts of Elton John music played over the loudspeakers, supporters of former President Donald Trump adorned clever garb protesting President Joe Biden and the 2020 election results while chanting ‘f— Joe Biden’ and appearances from Trump-backed candidates running for offices locally.
Among those on Saturday included former NFL and University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker, a candidate for the Peach State’s U.S. Senate seat up for grabs next year. The seat is currently held by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who won in what was somewhat of a mild political upset back in January over Republican Kelly Loeffler.
Walker, who announced his candidacy in August and was promptly endorsed by Trump, explained how he came to be a conservative during his speech to the crowd estimated to be at least 20,000 assembled at the Georgia National Fairgrounds.
“Someone told me I was conservative,” he said during his speech that included chants of “run Herschel run.” “And I was literally confused by that because I said I’m conservative because I like law and order? I’m a conservative because I like school choice? I’m a conservative because I like border control? I’m a conservative because I like fair elections? I’m a conservative because I like what’s right? I like the Constitution? You know, I’m confused — I’m confused so much because if we hold people accountable, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today. It is time for us to stand up as people and to hold our elected officials accountable because I read in the Constitution that everything we are fighting for today will be solved if we hold people accountable for holding the Constitution to be true.”
Walker also argued he was qualified to run for the U.S. Senate by virtue of being an American.
“People always ask me, what qualifies me to run for this office,” Walker continued. “And I say, ‘Well, you’re right. I’m an American.’ And I said, ‘What qualifies a reverend to run for this office? What qualifies a farmer to run for it? What qualifies a businessman to run for it?’ You know what qualifies me to run? Because I love America. And I’ve got to fight for America. It is time for us to stop wondering what we’re going to do but do it because what we’ve got now — we’re fighting over the same things we were fighting over when Jimmy Carter was in office. Have you noticed that?”
Walker’s speech shared common themes with the Trump brand of politics, including economic policy.
“I got a chance to go to the University of Georgia,” he said. “And after being there a year, I called my mom and asked how work was going. And she said they closed the plant down. I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And she said they closed the plant down and they moved everything to China. Well, what’s strange about it, guys — let’s worry about the United States. Let’s put jobs in the United States. Let’s put people back to work in the United States. Let’s be accountable for ourselves. And that’s what we’ve got to worry about — put leaders in that are going to worry about the United States and not worry about all of these other places.”
“I’m not saying we’re not compassionate because we’re very compassionate,” Walker added. “But you’ve got to take care of home first, and that’s what you’ve got to do — take care of home first.”
Earlier polling shows Walker with a sizeable lead over the other formally announced candidates also vying for the Republican nomination. Georgia Republicans will have the opportunity to vote for their preference to be on the November 2022 ballot on May 24, 2022.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor