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Herschel Walker: Racism isn't Donald Trump

Retired NFL star Hershel Walker said Monday that racism isn’t President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE in a speech during the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

Walker, who boasted a 37-year “deep personal friendship” with the president, said it “hurt my soul to hear the terrible names that people call” Trump.

“The worst one is racist,” he said. “I take it as a personal insult that people think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist.”

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“People who think that don’t know what they’re talking about,” the former Dallas Cowboys star said. “Growing up in the Deep South I've seen racism up close. I know what it is, and it isn’t Donald Trump.”

Walker has been a longtime friend of Trump following his playing days and serves on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. He played for a team owned by Trump in the 1980s: the USFL's New Jersey Generals.

Walker on Monday called Trump “someone who loves and respects the flag, our national anthem and our country,” adding the president also cares about social justice.

“He shows how much he cares about social justice and the Black community through his actions, and his actions speak louder than stigma or slogans on a jersey,” Walker said. “He keeps right on fighting to improve the lives of Black Americans and all Americans.”

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Walker's remarks come amid a summer of nationwide protests against racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, on May 25 in Minneapolis.

More demonstrations erupted this week in Wisconsin after a video circulated showing a Kenosha, Wis., police officer shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, several times in the back. Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversEight governors call on feds to immediately send out vaccine doses now in reserve Marquette men's basketball team wears black uniforms to protest Jacob Blake decision Wisconsin governor slams decision to not charge officers in Jacob Blake shooting MORE (D) activated the National Guard on Monday to respond to the unrest along with law enforcement after protests turned violent.

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAgency official says Capitol riot hit close to home for former Transportation secretary Chao Republicans wrestle over removing Trump Pressure grows on Trump to leave MORE told reporters on Monday that Trump would be briefed on the shooting. As of Monday evening, the president had not publicly weighed in on the incident.