Walmart is blaming a short-lived tweet calling GOP Sen. Josh Hawley a "#soreloser" on a mistake by an employee who meant to add the comment to a personal account rather than the retailer's corporate Twitter page.
The eyebrow-raising post Wednesday was made in response to a statement from Hawley announcing he'd object to certifying electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
Hawley is among a number of Republican lawmakers who have backed President Trump's so-far-unproven claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 elections. Trump, who garnered 232 electoral college votes to Biden's 306, has refused to accept the results.
Roughly a dozen Trump supporters in the House – led by Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama – have said they will challenge the slate of electors from six battleground states where Biden narrowly edged out Trump.
The challenge of at least one senator is needed for both houses of Congress to debate the objections and Hawley is the first senator to publicly declare he is willing to do so, going against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's urging.
Despite the debate, both chambers would have to agree not to certify the results -- an unlikely outcome, given the Democratic majority in the House and the statements from some GOP lawmakers accepting voters' choice.
The tweet from Walmart's corporate account responding to Hawley's announcement on Twitter read: "Go ahead. Get your 2-hour debate. #soreloser." It was taken down shortly after.
Hawley pushed back saying, "Thanks @Walmart for your insulting condescension. Now that you’ve insulted 75 million Americans, will you at least apologize for using slave labor?"
"Or maybe you’d like to apologize for the pathetic wages you pay your workers as you drive mom and pop stores out of business," added in a later tweet.
But a Walmart spokesperson apologized to Hawley and told Fox Business that the tweet was made in error.
"The tweet was mistakenly posted by a member of our social media team who intended to publish this comment to their personal account," a spokesperson for Walmart told FOX Business.
"We have removed the post and have no intention of commenting on the subject of certifying the electoral college. We apologize to Senator Hawley for this error and any confusion about our position," the spokesperson added.
The move by Hawley, a freshman senator, comes as GOP leaders in the chamber have sought to put the election upheaval to bed and usher in a new administration.
McConnell recognized Biden's victory weeks after the election and, behind closed doors, pressed Senate Republicans not to contest the election results.
With Hawley joining a small group of House Republicans in objecting, the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 would be dissolved and the House and Senate would then meet separately for two hours to debate a contested state’s electoral vote.
Each body would then vote whether to accept or reject that state’s slate and reconvene in a joint session.
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser and Jason Donner contributed to this report.