Campbell Soup VP who tweeted Soros conspiracy is out

The Campbell Soup lobbyist who said George Soros' foundation was assisting a caravan of migrants bound for t...

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 4:32 AM
Updated: Oct 29, 2018 4:32 AM

The Campbell Soup lobbyist who said George Soros' foundation was assisting a caravan of migrants bound for the United States is no longer with the company.

Kelly Johnston, formerly Campbell's vice president of government affairs, tweeted on Monday that the Open Society Foundations arranged for "troop carriers" and "rail cars" to support the caravan, which formed earlier this month in Central America. Johnston has since deleted his Twitter account.

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Campbell and Johnston had discussed his leaving over the summer, the company said on Saturday. Johnston was scheduled to leave in November, but the tweet sped up his exit.

"In the last few days, the company and Mr. Johnston have agreed that under the current circumstances it would be best to accelerate the timing of his departure," a company spokesperson told CNN Business. Thursday was his last day.

Johnston did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

Campbell (CPB) disavowed Johnston's tweet, saying on Tuesday that "the opinions Mr. Johnston expresses on Twitter are his individual views and do not represent the position of Campbell Soup Company."

The Open Society Foundations, which seeks to promote democracy around the globe, dismissed the tweet as false.

"Neither Mr. Soros nor Open Society is funding this effort," Open Society tweeted on Tuesday. "We are surprised to see a Campbell Soup executive spreading false stories."

The soup company's interim president and CEO Keith McLoughlin sent a letter to Open Society president Patrick Gaspard on Tuesday after Gaspard demanded the company take action on Johnston.

"We expect our leaders to present facts, to deal with objective truths and to exercise impeccable judgment," he wrote. " Mr. Johnston's remarks do not represent the position of Campbell and are inconsistent with how Campbell approaches public debate."

McLoughlin added that Johnston had represented the company "ably for many years," and said that he would leave the company in November, as planned.

New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel posted a screen grab of Johnston's tweet on Tuesday before Johnston deleted his account.

A caravan of migrants who say they are fleeing poverty and violence are making their way through Mexico to the US border.

The movement of the caravan has become a lighting rod in the immigration debate ahead of the midterm elections.

Some other public figures and politicians have suggested, without evidence, that Soros is funding the caravan. President Donald Trump has seized on the caravan as a political issue, and has accused Democrats of pushing for overrun borders.

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