“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (Rep) is seen on video saying during a campaign stop in Tupelo, Mississippi.
The video was posted on Twitter by Lamar White Jr., the publisher of The Bayou Brief a non-profit news site in Louisiana.
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row”- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy. pic.twitter.com/0a9jOEjokr
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 11, 2018
The clip was taped on November 2, before the elections began. Hyde-Smith is running for the position of Senator. Her opponent is the former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy (Dem), an African-American. There is now a runoff which is due to take place on November 27, as reported by NBC News.
“I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement,” said Hyde-Smith, who is also a cattle rancher, in a statement Sunday. “In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous,” according to CBS News.
The president of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson characterized Hyde-Smith’s comments as ‘sick” and elaborated, “To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish people and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hurtful and harmful.” “Any politician seeking to serve as a national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better. Her choice of words serves as an indictment of not only her lack of judgment, but her lack of empathy, and most of all lack of character.”
Hyde-Smith is also endorsed by President Donald Trump.
Hyde-Smith and Espy both received 41 percent of the vote in a four-person race Tuesday to fuel the runoff. Whoever is declared Senator will serve out the remaining two years started by longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran.
Republic Governor Phil Bryant temporarily appointed Hyde-Smith in place of Cochran who retired due to health reasons.
“Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comments are reprehensible,” Espy campaign spokesman Danny Blanton said in a statement Sunday. “They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state,” as documented by Huffington Post.
Mississippi’s racial past is deeply mired with pain and ugliness. Between 1882 and 1968 there were 581 lynchings, the most in any other state during that time period as documented by the NAACP.