Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has canceled a fundraiser for his campaign that was set to be hosted by a conservative filmmaker whose Twitter profile picture was until recently a swastika made up of syringes.
Walker’s campaign said in a Wednesday statement to The Hill that the event will no longer be held at the Texas home of Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais. The cancellation came shortly after the campaign denied that the filmmaker’s Twitter picture was in fact a swastika.
“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,” spokesperson Mallory Blount said.
The campaign had been under withering criticism since earlier Wednesday after news broke of the fundraiser. Walker’s campaign earlier in the day had called the picture “clearly an anti-mandatory vaccination graphic.”
Democrats pounced on the cancellation, panning Walker for his earlier defense and for not distancing himself from Viviano-Langlais sooner.
“Herschel Walker defended a swastika, and canceling a fundraiser does not change the fact that he failed to condemn a hateful, anti-Semitic symbol," said Georgia Democratic Party spokesperson Dan Gottlieb of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Walker is running against Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDemocrats face critical 72 hours Manchin shutting down Sanders on Medicare expansion Manchin says framework 'should' be possible this week MORE (D-Ga.), who was elected last year to finish the term of former Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonHerschel Walker calls off fundraiser with woman who had swastika in Twitter profile Georgia reporter says state will 'continue to be a premier battleground' Critical race theory becomes focus of midterms MORE (R) and will run again next year for a full term of his own.
The Georgia Senate race is among the most competitive in the nation, with Republicans viewing it as a top pick-up opportunity and a lynchpin in their strategy to take over the upper chamber, which is currently split 50-50.
Walker, a former football star with broad name recognition in Georgia, was heavily recruited by former President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE but has come under criticism over past violent behavior and his business practices since jumping into the race in August.