U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith with President Trump at a campaign rally in Southaven, Miss., on Oct. 2. / REUTERS

Mississippi Senator Makes 'Reprehensible' Comment About 'Public Hanging'

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) will face Democratic candidate Mike Espy, a Black man, in a runoff election. In a video clip, which went viral on Sunday, she jokes about attending “a public hanging” — a method of domestic terrorism that killed hundreds of Black people in the state.

Hyde-Smith said the following during a campaign stop in Tupelo, Miss. on Nov. 2:

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

The man she was referring to was identified as Colin Hutchinson, a local cattle rancher.

Lamar White Jr., publisher of a Louisiana news site called The Bayou Brief, who tweeted the video on Sunday, told The Associated Press he received it late Saturday from “a very reliable, trusted source.” But he wouldn’t disclose the person’s name.

The runoff election for Mississippi’s Senate seat between Espy, a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary, and Hyde-Smith, is scheduled for Nov. 27, following Tuesday’s election where each received approximately 41 percent of the vote.

Espy slammed his opponent, in a statement, posted on Twitter:

Hyde-Smith, who is endorsed by President Trump, said on Sunday:

“I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. 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.”

The GOP senator didn’t see anything wrong with her making such a comment in a state with a history of publicly hanging Black men, women and children — the most.

The Equal Justice Initiative has documented more than 4,000 “racial terror”
lynchings in the United States between 1877 and 1950. The report is focused on the 12 most active lynching states in the United States, including Mississippi.

And, according to
the NAACP, “Mississippi had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968 with 581.”

During this time period, across the country, “Blacks lynched accounted for 72.7 percent of the people lynched.”

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