Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker on Monday rejected one of the most emotionally charged accusations Democrats level against President Trump — that he is a racist.
“It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald. The worst one is ‘racist,’” said Mr. Walker, who is a Black American. “I take it as a personal insult that people would think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist.”
He said he hadn’t had a casual relationship with Mr. Trump but “a deep personal friendship.”
“Growing up in the deep south, I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump,” he said.
Mr. Walker defended Mr. Trump’s call for NFL players to stand during the national anthem rather than take a knee as part of a Black Lives Matter protest.
“Just because someone loves and respects the flag, our National Anthem, and our country doesn’t mean they don’t care about social justice,” he said. “I care about all of those things, and so does Donald Trump. He shows how much he cares about social justice and the black community through his actions. And his actions speak louder than stickers or slogans on a jersey.”
“He keeps right on fighting to improve the lives of black Americans and all Americans,” said Mr. Walker.
The speech drew an immediate rave from one of Mr. Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill and an admonition from him to spread around the football star’s words.
“if we don’t make an ad out of what Herschel Walker said … it would be political malpractice,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on Fox News Channel.