Mississippi senator’s joke about ‘public hanging’ sparks outrage

Image result for race cardSen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) faced a swift backlash on Sunday after she was heard saying in a video posted to Twitter that she would “be on the front row” if a cattle rancher hosting a Nov. 2 event invited her to a “public hanging.”

The full context of the comment was not immediately clear, but Democrat Mike Espy, who faces Hyde-Smith in a Nov. 27 runoff, called the comment “reprehensible.”

Espy is vying to become the first black senator to represent Mississippi since Reconstruction. “With the history of lynching of Mississippi, you just don’t say something like that,” said Cristen Hemmins, chair of the Lafayette County Democrats.

Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to replace Sen. Thad Cochran after he resigned for health reasons, said she was just expressing regard for the rancher, and “any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

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