There are some things in life that you just can’t make up. And then there are others that are very clearly made up. Friday night allowed both of those phenomena to collide in spectacular fashion.
That was when Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, attended a debate against Sen. Raphael Warnock and used that very important moment to not only promulgate the widely debunked lie that he worked as a member of law enforcement but also to pull out a “prop” that has come to be affectionately known on social media as a “fake badge” in an effort to support the aforementioned lie.
The fateful moment unfolded during a discussion about public safety when Walker accused Warnock of not supporting police officers. After pointing to his documented record to prove the contrary, Warnock had his mic drop moment.
“I’ve never pretended to be a police officer,” Warnock countered before adding, “and I’ve never threatened a shootout with the police!”
The comment elicited some high-pitched “ooohhhs” from the audience because they likely recognized Warnock’s reference to Walker’s insistence that he had once been deputized in Georgia’s Cobb County. Warnock was also alluding to a report from earlier this year that claimed Walker threatened a “shootout with police” in 2011 during an incident when he also allegedly threatened to kill his then-girlfriend and “blow her head off.”
In response, Walker pulled out the “fake badge” while sticking with his story, complete with butchered syntax:
“I am work with many police officers,” Walker said with a look on his face that suggested he truly believed his words.
Moderator and local news anchor Tina Tyus-Shaw quickly admonished Walker for knowingly violating the rules of the debate, in which the use of a “prop” is forbidden. But the damage had already been done as social media was instantly sent into a tizzy with meme creators likely salivating over the source of inspiration for content destined to go viral, what with Walker making a complete mockery of the moment.
Others quickly caught the “fake badge” fever, as evidenced by subsequent news coverage of the debate.
The “fake badge” became the defining moment of the debate as it both demonstrated the admitted ignorance of Walker as well as his limited grasp of what is truly at stake with the U.S. Senate seat he is seeking.
Lest we forget it wasn’t that long ago when Walker, himself, said prophetically that he wasn’t that bright and that people shouldn’t expect much from him at the debate.
“I’m this country boy, you know. I’m not that smart,” Walker said last month. “And he’s a preacher. He’s a smart man, wears these nice suits. So he is going to show up and embarrass me at the debate Oct. 14, and I’m just waiting to show up and I’m going to do my best.”
Famous last words.
Even Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, had a tough time explaining the “fake badge.”
All of which brings us back to the brilliant memes spawned from Friday night’s debate. Scroll down to see several others to get an idea of the kind of fun meme creators and social media users were having after Herschel Walker’s infamous “fake badge” moment.
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