The Georgia Republican Senate nominee's campaign is running ads on Gab.
The campaign of Republican Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker has been running ads on Gab, a social media site popular with white nationalists. Meanwhile, Walker has recently called for more federal monitoring of social media as a solution to mass shootings.
According to a May report by the progressive media monitoring group Media Matters for America, Walker is one of several Republican politicians who have been advertising on Gab. One paid "Team Herschel" spot on the site attacks Walker's opponent in the November Senate election, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, for receiving campaign contributions from "Hollywood's famous faces" in California, although Walker himself has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from people in California. Another in the same vein displays photos of film actors and directors and asks, "Georgia values? Or Hollywood values?"
Gab bills itself as "a social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online." With little content moderation, its user base includes white supremacists, white Christian nationalists, and other far-right extremists. In December 2021, the Anti-Defamation League noted that the company had posted antisemitic tropes and that CEO Andrew Torba had "engaged in multiple antisemitic tirades": "Torba himself posted that 'Zionists' (in this case a clear reference for Jews) are responsible for creating the Federal Reserve and for the 'subversion of American Christianity.'"
A Washington Post profile noted that Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people in a mass shooting on Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, was a frequent user of Gab. His profile included the words "jews are the children of satan."
After another apparent right-wing domestic terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, and a deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May, Walker has struggled to articulate his position on addressing gun violence.
In the past, he has faced accusations of domestic abuse, including threatening his ex-wife with knives and guns. He has denied breaking the law, but said he is "accountable" for the alleged actions.
Asked on May 24 by CNN if he would support any new gun violence legislation in light of the Texas massacre, Walker answered, "What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff. I like to see it," and walked off.
Two days later, he told Fox News, "What about getting a department that can look at young men that's looking at women that's looking at social media. What about doing that, looking into things like that, and we can stop that that way. But yet they want to just continue to talk about taking away your constitutional rights. And I think there are more things you need to look into."
A Walker campaign spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
Walker will face Warnock, who won a January 2021 special election for the final two years of an open Georgia Senate seat, in November. Warnock is an original co-sponsor of S. 529, the Background Check Expansion Act, which would require background checks before all gun purchases.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday that Walker, who has already come under fire for lying about and exaggerating his accomplishments and his record, has repeatedly said he "worked in law enforcement," and telling an audience of soldiers in 2019, "I spent time at Quantico at the FBI training school. Y'all didn't know I was an agent?" The AJC reported that there are no records of Walker serving in either.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.