The Republican Senator who “joked” last week about wanting to be in the front row of a public hanging, now says that she was also “joking” when she said that she wanted to make it more difficult for liberal students to vote.
Last week Mississippi’s Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith faced major heat because she got caught on video saying that she wanted to be in the front row of a public hanging. Her comments were particularly disturbing, given Mississippi’s history of lynching African Americans.
"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy. pic.twitter.com/0a9jOEjokr
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 11, 2018
And now, just days after the public hanging comments, Hyde-Smith is in trouble again for promoting voter suppression. In a video that was recorded on November 3, Smith is heard saying, “And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote,” referring to liberal college students. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”
Correction: Video WAS taken in Starkville on 11/03, which is what I had initially reported. There was some confusion, because apparently, Sen. Hyde-Smith has a talent for saying things like this often. @GanucheauAdam
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 15, 2018
Hyde-Smith’s campaign says that both the public hanging comments and the voter suppression comments were just “jokes.”
A spokesperson for the campaign, Melissa Scallan, said in a statement on Thursday, “Obviously Sen. Hyde-Smith was making a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited.”
“The senator absolutely is not a racist and does not support voter suppression,” Scallan said.
Hyde-Smith was appointed to her Senate seat this year, replacing retiring Thad Cochran. She is now facing Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election on November 27. Espy formerly served as agriculture secretary under President Clinton and he is a former member of the House.
Espy’s campaign spokesperson, Danny Blanton said about Hyde-Smith’s jokes, “For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter. Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state.”
Espy, who is a black man, said that Smith’s comments were “reprehensible” and have “no place in our political discourse” in Mississippi or in the country.
Featured image via Hyde-Smith campaign