“Thank God that chapter is over,” he told me Wednesday. I used to shut myself up, but now I’m finally able to speak openly and honestly, and it feels great.”
Given many of the viral and screeching rants Christian is best known for sipping an iced bench caffeine drink at one of the coffee chain’s drive-throughs, it was fitting that we met at Starbucks. (His coffee order—a cold froth of vanilla and pumpkin cream he pumped twice Venti he iced over his cup his triple his espresso—was given at least five minutes for the barista to prepare. It took.)
From the very beginning of his career as an influencer, Christian has used these videos to deftly weaponize and thus capitalize on what seems at odds with his identity. 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. A feminine man who says he is attracted to other men but refuses to admit to being gay so as not to appear liberal and objects to the need for Pride Month. Liberals detested him, mocked him, and turned him into a meme. They all duetted him on TikTok, increasing his notoriety and exposure.
The upside down was the point. As a young, same-sex-attracted black man, he rejected what was traditionally expected of him politically, instead becoming a decidedly red-haired ball of punk. “It’s completely countercultural,” he said new york magazine About his politics last March.
And that made him a star: over 500,000 followers on Instagram (his favorite app), plus 566,000 on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.He dreamed of hosting a Wendy Williams-esque talk show, he told New York magazine. Tucker Carlson every night? Being the son of a senator might help add weight to his opinion.
But Christian said he fears his father’s decision to run for public office could actually jeopardize his efforts to build a career and his complicated relationships. Although he felt abandoned by his father after an early childhood domestic violence and an ugly divorce, Herschel was still present in his life. In my environment, it might have been better without him at all, but he was there,” Christian said.
Still, the situation between them has improved somewhat in recent years. Dedicating her 2008 memoir to Christian, Herschel wrote: Thank you for helping me mature as a man and as his father. The pair bonded in 2020 during the election and even attended the Republican National Convention together.
“It was definitely tumultuous,” Christian said of their recent relationship. “If anything, it was well positioned.”
But then-Republican Senator Kelly Leffler Lost to Warnock in Georgia runoff vote in January 2021Almost immediately, Christian said the phone started begging his father to run away. Noisiest of all was Mr. Trump, who in the 1980s owned a business mogul who owned a U.S. football league team, New Jersey. rice field.
Despite pleas from influential politicians, Christian said everyone close to Herschel pleaded with him not to run. He did not believe that his father could invade black voters simply because he himself was black.
Most of all, he feared the media reveal. “Don’t do this to us. Don’t do this to yourself,” Christian said to his father. “It’s nasty. You have a good reputation. No one knows your past.” .”
Part of that past includes Herschel, absentee father critic,father three other children In addition to Christians with whom he never fully spoke publicly (these included a relationship with a woman who first told The Daily Beast that Hershel paid for an abortion when he impregnated her on another occasion). included children).
Christian said he only learned about a half-brother he had never met when he was a teenager. Christian once found a photo on a gossip website of a woman holding a baby that Hershel is said to have fathered, but the father denied it and told him his lawyer was looking after him. Another time he said he found a photo of his father’s girlfriend and baby, but Herschel again denied it was his. (Representatives for Walker’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment on this article.)
Christian believes that many would have forgiven him if his father had been honest with voters when he began his campaign and framed his story as one of redemption. According to Christian, this was a strategy Herschel promised his son to implement when he launched the campaign, but it never materialized.
After speaking at Mar-a-Lago, praising his father on instagram Christian walked away from the campaign when it first started bidding in August 2021. A keen observer may have noticed that although Christian said it was a plea to do so from the campaign, he did not post about it or show up at the rally.
Christian soon got fed up with interviewing his mother in 2008 about domestic violence. It was diverted to attack advertisementThen, when news of his half-brother finally broke in the press, he got angry.
“It was a lie at the expense of our family, so this was just the final straw,” he said. I feel like I sound liberal now—“defaming women” and all that—but it happened. ”
The Daily Beast even got a handwritten “get well” card signed by Herschel for the woman, but his father still denied it. Because I knew it was his handwriting, I didn’t think anyone else knew, but I did,” Christian said.
Returning to his Miami apartment after dinner with friends the night the article was published, Christian put on his pajamas, opened his phone, and got ready to tweet.
Now, this was the final contrarian position he would take: a son who once seemed like a doting and loyal conservative soldier, but now could help defeat his father.