ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has canceled a fundraiser in Texas because an organizer posted a swastika made of syringes in her social media profile to protest the mandatory vaccination against the COVID-19.
The Walker campaign said Wednesday it canceled the event, which was scheduled for Saturday in the Dallas suburbs at the home of Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais.
“Herschel is a great friend of Israel and the Jewish community and opposes hatred and bigotry in all its forms,” campaign spokesman Mallory Blount said. “Despite the fact that the apparent intention 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.”
The campaign had previously denied that the symbol was a swastika.
“Herschel Walker defended a swastika, and canceling a fundraiser doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t condemn a hateful, anti-Semitic symbol.” Georgia Democratic Party spokesman Dan Gottlieb said in a statement.
Former President Donald Trump urged the great footballer and his longtime friend to start the Republican nomination race against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in 2022. Walker is running against three other Republicans, including the Commissioner for Georgia State Agriculture Gary Black.
The fundraiser required a donation of $ 500 to enter and $ 5,800 for a private VIP reception. The Walker campaign said Monday it raised $ 3.7 million in the quarter that ended September 30.
Viviano-Langlais has been a film producer and a staunch opponent of the mask and mandatory vaccines. Published accounts indicate that Viviano-Langlais hosted a burning “Texas is Now Open” mask at her home in Parker, Texas, in conjunction with Jewish conservatives in Dallas, GOP supporters, in March after Texas Governor Greg Abbott has lifted the state’s mask mandate.
The syringe swastika has appeared during protests against vaccination warrants in other parts of the United States and the world. Jewish groups condemned the symbol.
Allison Padilla-Goodman, vice president of the Southern Division of the Anti-Defamation League, said the comparison of vaccines with Nazism has become “a common and ruthless tool for political gain.”
“Those who link the atrocities committed by the Nazis to modern public health policies must withdraw their shameless comparisons, take responsibility and stop exploiting Jewish suffering as a political tactic,” Padilla-Goodman said in a statement. “We are happy to see that the fundraiser has been canceled and the host’s behaviors have been reported as offensive.”
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