Walmart withdraws donations to Cindy Hyde-Smith after criticism

The retail giant said it was “requesting a refund of all campaign donations” amid backlash over donating to the GOP senator after her “public hanging” remark.

Walmart withdraws donations to Cindy Hyde-Smith after criticism
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith talks to supporters in in Jackson, Mississippi, on Nov. 6, 2018.Chris Todd / EPA file

MISSISSIPPI (NBC) - Walmart on Tuesday said it was "requesting a refund" from the campaign of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith after the company came under pressure to distance itself from the Mississippi lawmaker's "public hanging" remark.

Campaign finance records show that the company made a $2,000 donation on Nov. 18, nearly a week after a video of Hyde-Smith saying she would be “on the front row” if a supporter invited her to “a public hanging” went viral. Records also show the company gave a $1,000 contribution to her campaign this past June.

The retail giant announced its decision to withdraw its support from Hyde-Smith in response to actress Debra Messing, who tweeted about the issue on Monday.

“Hi Debra. Completely understand your concern. 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,” the company said in a tweet.

Hyde-Smith’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Hyde-Smith has previously denied there was any negative connotation to her “public hanging” remark, which drew sharp rebuke from both sides. Critics noted that the comments were especially hurtful given Mississippi’s history of racial violence and lynching against African Americans.

Hyde-Smith faces a runoff election on Nov. 27 against former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, who is African-American.

Her campaign has also been rocked allegations of supporting voter suppression after another video surfaced last week of her saying it might be a "great idea" to make it harder for some people to vote. Her campaign, however, quickly responded that the senator "obviously" was "making a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited."

On Monday, her campaign was forced to return a $2,700 donation from a Seattle businessman who was sued for discriminating against Muslims.

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