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Ex-NFL star Herschel Walker on what Donald Trump taught him during their 37-year friendship

Herschel Walker, NJ Generals Running Back, looks on as Donald Trump, JJ Generals Owner; makes the announcement of a new contract for Herschel Walker through the 1989 season; during a press conference held at Giants Stadium.
Bettmann | Bettmann | Getty Images

On Monday during his 2020 Republican National Convention speech, Heisman Trophy-winning former running back Herschel Walker told the world he has learned a lot from President Donald Trump. 

Walker first met Trump in 1983 when he was drafted by the New Jersey Generals. The team was part of the short-lived United States Football League, which Trump owned at the time.

Walker says he immediately formed a friendship with the famous real-estate developer, one that has lasted over the last 37 years.

"I'm talking about a deep personal friendship," Walker said on Monday.

The two shared good times (for instance, when his and Trump's families went Disney World together, "there [Trump] was in a business suit on It's a Small World ride," Walker said. "That was something to see"). But Walker, who after retiring from the NFL more than 20 years ago now owns poultry and food company Renaissance Man Foods as well as other businesses, says Trump has taught him important lessons over the years. 

First, Walker said when Trump owned the Generals, he would watch his boss in meetings. One thing that stood out was how Trump would drop everything if one of his kids needed something. 

"He can be in the middle of a big meeting, but if one of the kids was on the phone, he dropped everything to take the call. He taught me that family should be your top priority," Walker said.

Another thing that Walker noticed was how Trump treated people.

Though Trump has been widely criticized for bullying everyone from his critics to small business owners he worked with as a businessman, Walker said his experience was the opposite. 

Not only was Trump eager to learn "every detail" about the Generals, including every player and coach, said Walker, but he also watched Trump "treat janitors, security guards and waiters the same way you would treat a VIP. He made them feel special because he knew they were."

"Herschel, make an effort to get to know people. Remember their names," Walker said Trump told him.

Walker acknowledged during his speech that some people dislike how Trump "knocks down obstacles that get in the way of his goals," as Walker put it. But, said Walker, "the opposing team they don't like when I ran over them either, but that's how you get the job done."

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