Hyde-Smith, Espy respond to public hanging comment

A video has gone viral on Twitter that shows U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith speaking to supporters during a campaign stop in Tupelo back on November 2nd. In the video, Hyde-Smith stands next to cattle rancher Collin Hutcheson with his arm draped across her shoulders.

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

Lamar White Jr., Publisher of Bayou Brief in Louisiana, posted the 10-second video on Twitter which has received over 1.7 million views as of Sunday night. With over 8,000 comments on the video, people have expressed outrage at the Senator’s comments who is in a runoff election with African American Candidate Mike Espy (D).

Espy’s campaign responded saying Hyde-Smith’s comments were “reprehensible.”

“They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country,” the statement reads. “We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.”

Hyde-Smith replied to the criticism saying the comment was an expression.

“In a comment on Nov. 2, 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 Mississippi Democratic Legislative Caucus has released a statement calling on Hyde-Smith to apologize for the comment.

“We call upon Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith to apologize to the people of Mississippi for bringing dishonor and ridicule to our state through her recent comments and for her inconceivable lack of respect for those whose family members and friends suffered unspeakable deaths by lynching on our soil. There is no place in public service for those whose words and actions disrespect citizens of our state. Mississippi can and must be better than this, and our leaders should be willing to step up and prove it to the world. We call on the Governor and all other elected officials to condemn Senator Hyde-Smith’s comments in the strongest terms possible,” the statement reads. 

The runoff between Espy and Hyde-Smith is set for November 27th when Mississippians will choose who will represent them in Washington after Senator Thad Cochran retired back in April and Governor Phil Bryant appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to the position.