In the final stretch of the heated Georgia Senate campaign, Republican Herschel Walker has been letting people know an important fact: He has never met Barack Obama.
The former president held a rally last Friday for Walker’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, and seemed to enjoy dunking on Walker as an unqualified celebrity candidate.
An apparently stung Walker took to a radio show hosted by Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday to respond.
“I’m not sure why he came here just to go after me,” Walker said. “Yet he said I’m a celebrity, but all he hung out with was celebrities. He never hung out with me so I can’t be a celebrity.”
The following day, the former NFL player joined Kilmeade on air at Fox News and repeated his line, specifying he had never even met the 44th president. “I’ve never met him before, and if I’m a celebrity, I would’ve met him because all he did was hang out with celebrities,” Walker said.
These claims are contradicted by one key person, however: Herschel Walker.
During a commemorative celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. at Austin College in 2020, Walker told a story: “You know what is so funny, I used to play basketball with President Obama. He smokes, I don’t know if y’all know that but he smokes,” he said. “I used to let homeboy school me up. Let’s be real, only because he had a lot of security,” Walker added while laughing.
He repeated the same tale nearly word-for-word a year earlier at a suicide prevention month event hosted by the military in Tacoma, Washington, on Sept. 11, 2019.
This time, Walker included more detail, describing an alleged one-on-one game.
“I used to let homeboy post me up, post Herschel Walker up. I’m serious, I used to let him post me up, make a lay-up and stuff and he would talk a lot of trash. I don’t know if y’all know that but he would talk a lot of trash,” Walker said as the crowd laughed.
In 2017, while visiting Fort Benning in Georgia, Walker again recounted that he played basketball with Obama, let the former president “post him up,” and teased a possible future game. “So we’re playing again,” Walker said. “I’m calling his butt up. We’re going to play another, and I’m going to let him know what time it is.”
It is not clear whether Walker was wrong this week, or in 2017, 2019 and 2020 when he described a pickup basketball game and suggested he had Obama’s phone number.
Walker’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Obama’s post-presidential office. There are no mentions of Walker on Obama’s archived White House webpage, and HuffPost could not turn up any press mentions of Walker at any event with Obama.
Walker did appear at one White House exercise event ― but it was in 2018, when Donald Trump was president.