Update 11/12/18 12:38 p.m.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Republican U.S. senator in Mississippi says she won't answer questions about a "public hanging" comment she made at a campaign event.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said in response to repeated questions Monday that she issued a statement Sunday and has nothing to add.
A video published online Sunday shows Hyde-Smith at a Nov. 2 campaign stop in Tupelo praising someone by saying: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row."
Hyde-Smith said Sunday it was an "exaggerated expression of regard" for a rancher who invited her to speak and "any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous."
Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings of African-Americans.
Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy, who is black, in a Nov. 27 runoff.
See the original post below.
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A social media stir arose Sunday after U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith made a comment that if a cattle rancher she was campaigning with "invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row."
The comment was made more than a week ago during a local campaign stop in Fairpark in Tupelo.
Hyde-Smith released this release on her comment:
“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred 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.”
Lamar White, Jr. posted a video of the Republican making the comment on Twitter Sunday.
Mike Espy, who will face Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith in a runoff election on November 27th released this comment in response to her statement.
“Cindy Hyde-Smith's comments are reprehensible. They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.”