Congressman Thompson speaks out on Hyde-Smith hanging comments

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

Chris McDaniel and Democrat Tobey Bartee, none of the contenders garnered 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, sending the race into a runoff on November 27 between Hyde-Smith and Espy.

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.

Cindy Hyde-Smith has released a statement regarding a comment she made joking that if the cattle rancher she was campaigning with "invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row". If he defeats Hyde-Smith, he would be the first African-American since Reconstruction to represent the state in the U.S. Senate.

Hyde-Smith, who is endorsed by President Donald Trump, is the first woman to represent MS in either chamber of Congress and is trying to become the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state.

But Hyde-Smith said her remark was just an "exaggerated expression of regard". And when accepting an endorsement from the National Right to Life Committee on Monday, Hyde-Smith again referred questioning reporters to that statement, per AP. 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 put out a statement yesterday, and that's all I'm going to say about it", she said.

The video clip surfaced on social media Sunday in a post from Lamar White Jr., who is the publisher of the news site The Bayou Brief, according to The Associated Press.

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On Twitter, Johnson later said that Hyde-Smith's response to the controversy was "tone deaf and demonstrates disregard" for the state's history. Thad Cochran, who retired amid health concerns in April.

Hyde-Smith stands by her statement, WJTV reported following a Monday news conference.

Hyde-Smith, of Brookhaven, Mississippi, is a former Democratic state senator and agriculture commissioner. Whoever is declared Senator will serve out the remaining two years started by longtime Republican Sen. The runoff was triggered when no candidate hit 50 percent.

"It's got a lynching or public hanging exhibit, and it's visceral and it's sobering", Espy said.

Trump has been vocal in his support for Hyde-Smith, tweeting in August that she is "strong" on issues such as job creation and his proposed southern border wall, helping him to "put America First!"

Days after appointed U.S. Sen.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith joins President Donald Trump onstage at a campaign rally in Southaven, Miss., Oct. 2, 2018.

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