Sign up for the daily Inside Washington email for exclusive US coverage and analysis sent to your inbox
Get our free Inside Washington email
Former football star turned Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker on Tuesday appeared to confuse the democratic process with an extremely sensitive anatomical one when he mistakenly referred to an aroused male sexual organ during an interview on Fox News.
Flanked by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Mr Walker was in the midst of responding to a question from Fox News host Sean Hannity when he committed the Freudian slip.
“First of all, this election is more than Herschel Walker — this erection is about the people,” he said, causing Mr Cruz and Mr Graham to turn their heads in his direction almost simultaneously.
Mr Walker didn’t appear to acknowledge the gaffe and continued with the interview as if nothing out of the ordinary had transpired.
The ex-NFL running back is not the only political figure from either party to inadvertently refer to an aroused male organ in a public setting in recent years.
In the months following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said former president Donald Trump — himself no stranger to sex scandals — had “incited an erection” rather than an “insurrection”. Mr Schumer’s gaffe came in remarks from the Senate floor, while Mr Schiff made the tawdry accusation during an appearance on ABC’s The View.
But Mr Walker’s inadvertent invocation of his own anatomy was even more awkward because it came just hours after a former girlfriend of his released audiotapes to back up her claim that he forced her to have an abortion after she became pregnant while in a relationship with the ex-football player.
According to the woman, who has been going by Jane Doe, she and Mr Walker had a yearslong relationship during which she became pregnant twice. The first time, she said he insisted that she terminate the pregnancy. The second time, she refused and later gave birth to a child he has acknowledged as his own.
But Mr Walker has denied the allegations, leading her and her attorney, Gloria Allred, to call a press conference at which she revealed the tape, in which he describes himself as her “stud farm” and refers to the woman as his “sex puppy”.