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Politics Senate candidate cancels fundraiser after donor's use of swastika

05:00  14 october  2021
05:00  14 october  2021 Source:   cbsnews.com

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Republican candidate Hershel Walker, the former NFL player running for U.S. Senate in Georgia, canceled a fundraiser on Wednesday after the event's host was condemned for using a profile picture of a swastika made of vaccine syringes on social media.

Murray State v Georgia © / Getty Images Murray State v Georgia

Republican donor Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais, a Texas filmmaker, was scheduled to host the fundraiser in Parker, Texas, this weekend, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first reported the story.

Viviano-Langlais's Twitter account has been taken down at the time of reporting, but a screengrab captured earlier shows the vaccine-swastika logo, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The image has been used by opponents of vaccine mandates who liken the policy to the Nazi oppression and genocide of Jews — a comparison that's been widely condemned.

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A Walker spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "This is clearly an anti-mandatory vaccination graphic. Herschel unequivocally opposes anti-semitism and bigotry of all kinds."

The campaign later confirmed that the fundraiser was canceled.

Mallory Blount, a spokeswoman for the Walker campaign, said in a statment that "the previously scheduled event has been called off. Herschel is a strong friend of Israel and the Jewish community and opposes hatred and bigotry of all forms. Despite the fact that the apparent intent behind the graphic was to condemn government vaccine mandates, the symbol used is very offensive and does not reflect the values of Herschel Walker or his campaign."

Critics expressed outrage and disgust — and took issue with the campaign's response.

Georgia Senate race: Herschel Walker cancels fundraiser with supporter who had swastika-shaped image in Twitter profile

  Georgia Senate race: Herschel Walker cancels fundraiser with supporter who had swastika-shaped image in Twitter profile Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has canceled a fundraiser hosted by a woman whose Twitter account featured a swastika-shaped image used to protest Covid-19 vaccine mandates. © Sean Rayford/Getty Images PERRY, GA - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally featuring former US President Donald Trump on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia. Georgia Secretary of State candidate Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) and Georgia Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Burt Jones (R-GA) also appeared as guests at the rally.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America tweeted that it is "absolutely vile — Republicans are proudly and openly displaying swastikas."

The Democratic Party of Georgia's Dan Gottlieb said in a press release that "Herschel Walker defended a swastika, and canceling a fundraiser does not change the fact that he failed to condemn a hateful, anti-Semitic symbol."

Walker's campaign officially launched in August and has already raised over $3.7 million in his bid to unseat the Democratic incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock. Former President Donald Trump encouraged Walker to get into the race. It's expected to be a hard-fought and very expensive campaign, with Cook Political Report rating the race as "lean Democrat."

Walker has refused to say whether or not he is vaccinated.

Adam Brewster contributed to this report.

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This is interesting!