Republican candidates just can’t help themselves from making shockingly racist comments on the campaign trail.
The latest offender is Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, who faces a Nov. 27 runoff against Democrat Mike Espy, who is black.
Hyde-Smith was appointed earlier this year to fill Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat after Cochran resigned due to poor health. Hyde-Smith and Espy were the two top vote-earners in Tuesday’s elections, although neither received the state’s 50% requirement for an outright victory in the Senate race, forcing a runoff.
Last month, Hyde-Smith tweeted that she was, “Honored to have @realDonaldTrump’s COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement in Mississippi’s race for U.S. Senate.” She added: “Make no mistake — a vote for me is a vote for Donald Trump, and you can count me to help this President put #AmericaFirst! #MAGA”
Trump probably would COMPLETELY and TOTALLY endorse her latest controversial comment, a video of which was shared on social media by The Bayou Brief’s Lamar White Jr. That post was retweeted by activist and writer Shaun King.
In the brief clip, Hyde-Smith is addressing a small group of supporters, along with Tupelo cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson, according to White. Referring to Hutchinson, Hyde-Smith said, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” The crowd of white supporters laughs and some applaud.
In his tweet, King wrote, “A sitting United States Senator, IN MISSISSIPPI just said ‘If he invited me to a public hanging I’d be on the front row.’ REALLY? She just said this in the heart of lynching country…”
Espy, who was forced to step away from politics years ago following an ethics investigation, has faced an election cycle marred by racism since he returned to the political arena. The other Republican challenger in the bid for Cochran’s former Senate seat was Chris McDaniel, who had a campaign sign in his yard displaying the Confederate flag.
According to The Washington Post, Espy hopes to become the first black senator from Mississippi since shortly after the Civil War. In 1987, he became the first black congressman from the state since the Reconstruction era, the Jackson Free Press reported.
The newspaper also pointed out that Mississippi “had the highest number of lynchings of African Americans of any states in the United States” between 1877 and 1950. There were 654 lynchings during that period.
As the Free Press explained:
Lynchings—extrajudicial mob justice used to intimidate African Americans—were usually done by hanging, often in front of crowds of joyous whites who even mailed postcards with lynching photographs to friends and family.
During the same period, two lynchings occurred in Lee County, where Hyde-Smith delivered her “joke” about a hanging, the newspaper noted.
Responding to Hyde-Smith’s comments, Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer tweeted that, “Folks like Cindy don’t think or care about being implicitly or explicitly racist.”