Walmart asks Mississippi's Hyde-Smith to return donation after 'public hanging' comment

Walmart is pulling its support for Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and asked for her campaign o...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 5:07 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 5:07 PM

Walmart is pulling its support for Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and asked for her campaign on Tuesday to return its donations.

The decision by the world's largest retailer is the latest sign of public backlash against Hyde-Smith over her remarks about attending a "public hanging."

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"Sen. Hyde-Smith's recent comments clearly do not reflect the values of our company and associates," Walmart said through its Twitter account. "As a result, we are withdrawing our support and requesting a refund of all campaign donations."

The tweet came in response to a post from actress Debra Messing, who linked to a story about the company's contributions to Hyde-Smith's campaign. A recent filing with the Federal Election Commission showed Wal-Mart had given Hyde-Smith's campaign $2,000.

Walmart joins several other companies to demand Hyde-Smith return donations after she was caught on tape saying she would attend a "public hanging" at the invitation of a supporter. Not long after, another video surfaced in which Hyde-Smith can be heard suggesting it would be "a great idea" to suppress the student vote.

Hyde-Smith's campaign defended the comments about voting as a joke and in a statement called her hanging remark "an exaggerated expression of regard" which had been misinterpreted.

AT&T and Pfizer also cut support for Hyde-Smith this week and requested a refund of their contributions. (CNN is a unit of AT&T's WarnerMedia.)

It is not clear whether Hyde-Smith has agreed to recoup the donations. Her campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hyde-Smith is in a runoff to retain the Senate seat she was appointed to in March by Gov. Phil Bryant. Her Democratic opponent, Mike Espy, a former congressman and agriculture secretary, is vying to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction. Hyde-Smith appeared to be an overwhelming favorite in their contest, which is scheduled for November 27, before her comments sparked national outrage.

In a new ad released on Tuesday, Espy's campaign warned voters that electing Hyde-Smith would reinforce "the stereotypes that hurt our state."

"We can't afford a senator who embarrasses us and reinforces the stereotypes we've worked so hard to overcome," a narrators says. "We're better than this, Mississippi -- and that's no joke."

President Donald Trump came to Hyde-Smith's defense on Tuesday, telling reporters, "She made a statement, which I know that she feels very badly about it. And it was just sort of said in jest. She's a tremendous woman. And it's a shame that she has to go through this. I think she's going to do very well."

Trump is scheduled to lead a pair of rallies, in Biloxi and Tupelo, for Hyde-Smith on the day before the election.

Some Democrats now believe he is within striking distance of flipping the seat in a deep-red state that Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016.

Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California have campaigned for Espy in Mississippi in recent days. On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden announced his endorsement of Espy, while others, like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have sent out fundraising emails.

Google, which gave Hyde-Smith $5,000, backed away from Hyde-Smith last week.

"This contribution was made on Nov. 2 before Sen. Hyde-Smith's (hanging) remarks became public on Nov. 11," the company said in a statement. "While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would have not made such a contribution had we known about them."

Union Pacific and Boston Scientific also defended their initial decisions to give, saying on social media they made their donations before the "public hanging" video become public, but requested they be returned.

On Monday, Hyde-Smith returned a $2,700 donation from a Seattle businessman, Peter Zieve, whose company, Electroimpact, was sued by Washington state for discriminating against Muslims.

"That donation was made online, and we have returned it," Hyde-Smith campaign spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said in an email.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
Rankin230735
Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
Lauderdale141592
Neshoba128892
Lamar123115
Bolivar113635
Oktibbeha113339
Warren112535
Lowndes109239
Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
Lafayette98719
Copiah96228
Leflore94966
Pike94037
Holmes91049
Grenada85123
Pontotoc8429
Yazoo84113
Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
Simpson80631
Leake79526
Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
Marion68420
Union66216
Adams63225
Winston62916
Covington62214
George5956
Pearl River55940
Newton54511
Tallahatchie54111
Attala52725
Walthall50221
Chickasaw47619
Noxubee46112
Tishomingo4377
Alcorn4355
Calhoun4259
Prentiss42310
Claiborne40914
Smith40613
Hancock40214
Clay40114
Jasper3949
Itawamba38710
Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
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