Black Dem candidate blasts GOP opponent for saying she’d go to ‘public hanging’: ‘This is 2018’

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Mississippi Senate candidate Mike Espy (D) on Monday condemned his GOP opponent, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, for saying that she would be in the “front row” if she was invited to a “public hanging.”

“Those comments that we heard, that were published yesterday, are very disappointing,” Espy said in a video posted by Time magazine. “They are hurtful and they are harmful.”

{mosads}Espy added that the comment, which was made earlier this month, is “hurtful to the millions of Mississippians who are people of goodwill.”

“And they are harmful because they tend to reinforce the stereotypes that have held back our state for so long and that have cost us jobs and harmed our economy,” Espy said. 

“I mean this is 2018. We are going here in Mississippi into the third decade of the 21st century and we just should not have this.”

His rebuke of Hyde-Smith comes a day after video surfaced showing the Republican senator saying she’d attend a “public hanging” to a group of supporters. The comment provoked notable backlash considering Mississippi’s history of lynchings of African-Americans. 

Hyde-Smith, who has been endorsed by President Trump, pushed back against the criticism, telling the Jackson Free Press that the remarks were “an exaggerated expression of regard.”

“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement,” she said. “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.” 

Espy would be the first black Senator from Mississippi since 1883. His race against incumbent Hyde-Smith advanced to a Nov. 27 runoff after neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote in the special election last week. 

In addition to Espy, the NAACP strongly rebuked Hyde-Smith over her “public hanging” remark. 

“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.

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