Georgia Republican US Senate candidate Herschel Walker has called off a fundraiser planned in Texas because the host was displaying a swastika made of syringes in her social media profile to protest mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. Walker's campaign said Wednesday that it had canceled the event, which had been scheduled for Saturday in suburban Dallas at the home of Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais. The campaign had earlier denied that the symbol was a swastika, the AP reports.
"Herschel is a strong friend of Israel and the Jewish community and opposes hatred and bigotry of all forms," campaign spokesperson Mallory Blount said. "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." Democrats pointed out the change of heart by the candidate, who's been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
"Herschel Walker defended a swastika, and canceling a fundraiser does not change the fact that he failed to condemn a hateful, anti-Semitic symbol.” Georgia Democratic Party spokesperson Dan Gottlieb said in a statement. The syringe swastika has appeared in protests against vaccine mandates in other parts of the US and the world. Jewish groups have condemned the symbol. The comparison of vaccines to Nazism has become “a common and callous tool for political gain," said Allison Padilla-Goodman, of the southern division of the Anti-Defamation League. Linking the atrocities committed by the Nazis to current public health policies are "shameless comparisons," Padilla-Goodman said. (Read more Herschel Walker stories.)