NAACP slams Hyde-Smith over ‘public hanging’ remark
© Greg Nash

The NAACP is  condemning Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) for saying in a video captured earlier this month that she would be in the "front row" if i nvited to a "public hanging."

“Hyde-Smith’s decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African Americans is sick," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement on Sunday.

"To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish People and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hateful and hurtful," he added. "Any politician seeking to serve as the national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better. Her choice of words serves as an indictment of not only her lack of judgment, but her lack of empathy, and most of all character."

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Johnson blamed President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE for creating a "a social and political climate that normalizes hateful and racist rhetoric," and noted that the Florida governor's race has been similarly marred by racist rhetoric.

Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to replace retired Sen. Thad Cochran (R) earlier this year, claimed in a statement that she was referring 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," she added.

Hyde-Smith last week advanced to a run-off election last week in which she will face Democrat Mike Espy, who would be the first black U.S. senator from Mississippi since 1883. 

Espy on Sunday night slammed his opponent's comments as "reprehensible."