Senator jokes about sitting front row at 'public hanging'

Mississippi senator Cindy Hyde Smith releases statement on ‘public hanging’ comment

A video of Cindy Hyde Smith saying she would be"front row at a"public hanging has gone viral. Source Twitter

The video has also drawn new attention to her runoff race against Democratic challenger and former USA agriculture secretary Mike Espy, who is black.

"I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement", Hyde-Smith said in a statement, obtained by The Associated Press. Cindy Hyde-Smith and her supporters laughed as she quipped about being in the front row of a "public hanging", according to a newly surfaced video.

Former Democratic Rep. and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy at a rally for his Senate campaign in Jackson, Miss., on November 5.

Mississippi GOP Gov. Phil Bryant stood by Hyde-Smith, whom he appointed to the seat. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, earlier this year.

Hyde-Smith released a statement that tried to add context to the video clip.

The video comes just days after Hyde-Smith agreed to meet Espy for a public debate ahead of the runoff, as well as the highly publicized firing of a hospital worker seen voting in Mississippi on Tuesday in a shirt that featured a Confederate flag with a noose at its center and the words "Mississippi Justice".

In a statement to the Washington Post on Sunday, candidate Mike Espy - who faces Hyde-Smith in a runoff election later this month to determine who will serve for the remainder of former Sen.

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Race has not been a central issue in this contest, but often on the trail, Espy invoked the struggle of fellow African-Americans across the state in addressing Mississippi's history with racism.

Lamar White Jr., publisher of a left-leaning Louisiana news site called The Bayou Brief, posted the video Sunday on social media.

"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", Johnson said in a statement.

Espy's campaign calls Hyde-Smith's comments "reprehensible" and says they have no place in political discourse.

At an October 2 rally in Southaven, Mississippi, Trump continued to stump for Hyde-Smith.

Hyde-Smith and Espy were the top performers on Election Day, but neither candidate garnered 50 percent of the vote, triggering a runoff. "I knew her when I appointed her".

Hyde-Smith, who is endorsed by President Donald Trump, is the first woman to represent MS in either chamber of Congress, and after being appointed is trying to become the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state. According to the NAACP website, between 1882 and 1968, there were 4,743 lynchings in the USA, and almost 73 percent of the victims were black. The state's population has the highest percentage of African-Americans of any state, 37 percent according to the last census.

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