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Walmart responds to Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” remarks

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Cindy Hyde-Smith
State
Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks
about the positive actions of her department to protect and
enhance the lot of the state’s farmers during her address at the
Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 27,
2017.


Rogelio
V. Solis/AP



  • Walmart is “withdrawing our support and requesting a refund
    of all campaign donations” from Republican Sen. Cindy
    Hyde-Smith’s campaign, amid backlash against Hyde-Smith for
    “public hanging” remarks.
  • Walmart made the announcement in a tweeted response to
    actress Debra Messing, who posted about the initial donation,
    which records show was made by Walmart’s
    PAC on November 18
    .
  • Sen. Hyde-Smith is currently facing a runoff election against
    former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, which is scheduled for
    November 27.

Walmart is “requesting a refund” from Republican Sen. Cindy
Hyde-Smith’s campaign, following backlash over the Mississippi
politician’s “public hanging” remark.

In a tweeted response to “Will & Grace” actress Debra
Messing, Walmart said, “Sen. Hyde-Smith’s recent comments clearly
do not reflect the values of our company and associates. As a
result, we are withdrawing our support and requesting a refund of
all campaign donations.”

At a campaign stop in Tupelo, Mississippi, Hyde-Smith told a
supporter that, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on
the front row.” The quote was first reported on November 11 by
Lamar White, Jr. of the Bayou Brief, a local nonprofit
publication.

Hyde-Smith’s remark has been condemned by
Republicans and Democrats alike
, given the legacy of racial
violence and lynching in Mississippi. She has yet to apologize
and her campaign has said the comments were made in jest. Her
election opponent former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy is
African-American.

Hyde-Smith was appointed to the US Senate following the
resignation of Thad Cochran due to health issues. In a special
election held on November 6, neither Hyde-Smith nor Espy reached
the requisite percentage of votes. The two are headed for a
runoff on November 27 and will face off in a debate on
November 20
.

On November 18, the Walmart PAC for Responsible Government
donated $2,000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to Federal
Election Commission records
. The PAC previously donated
$1,000 to the Hyde-Smith campaign, according to
Open Secrets.

The progressive newsletter Popular
Information
first reported about the donation, and Messing
tweeted about it drawing a response from Walmart.

Espy’s campaign communication director Danny Blanton responded to
Walmart’s withdrawal of support and request for a refund, saying
that Hyde-Smith’s “comments have embarrassed Mississippi and
shown why she can’t be trusted to work with the businesses
Mississippi needs to grow good paying jobs.”

“We’re confident that voters will follow Walmart’s lead and dump
Cindy Hyde-Smith before she has the power to do real damage to
our economy,” he continued, according to
NBC News
.

This is not the only controversy that has followed the Hyde-Smith
campaign. On Tuesday, November 20,
Facebook photos
from 2014 were reported on by
Politico
. In one photo, Hyde-Smith puts on a Confederate
soldier hat while visiting the Jefferson Davis Home and
Presidential Library, and the caption includes the quote
“Mississippi history at its best!”

Davis was the president of the Confederacy, which seceded from
the Union and fought in the Civil War
over slavery
.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump defended Hyde-Smith over her
“pubic hanging” comments.

“She made a statement, which I know she feels badly about it, and
it was just sort of said in jest,”
Trump told reporters
. “She is a tremendous woman and it is a
shame that she has to go through this.”

INSIDER contacted the Hyde-Smith campaign for comment on
Walmart’s request for a refund and the Facebook photos and will
update as necessary.

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