Mississippi Republican apologizes for ‘hanging’ remark in Senate runoff debate (Source Yahoo)
Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith apologized Tuesday evening for a recent remark that evoked the South’s ugly past of racial terror against African-Americans and has turned what should be an easy win for the GOP in a runoff election for the U.S. Senate into an unexpectedly competitive race.
“For anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statement,” Hyde-Smith said in a debate with Democrat Mike Espy. “In nearly 20 years of service … I have worked with all Mississippians. It didn’t matter their skin color.”
But Hyde-Smith, a former state senator appointed to her seat in March, also said that her words had been “twisted” and “turned into a weapon to be used against me.”
Espy, a former congressman and secretary of agriculture under President Bill Clinton, told Hyde-Smith that “no one twisted your comments because your comments were live.”
“I don’t know what’s in your heart, but we all know what came out of your mouth,” said Espy, who is black. “It’s given our state another black eye that we don’t need.”
“We got a senator here talking about public hangings,” Espy said. “Ladies and gentleman, I am not going back to yesteryear. We are going to move forward … not talking about horrors of the past.”
On Nov. 11, video of Hyde-Smith surfaced where she told an audience at a campaign event that she appreciated the host who had invited her so much that “if he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
Mississippi has a gruesome history of “racial terror lynchings,” as they have been described by the Equal Justice Initiative. In 1877, the last of the federal troops sent to the South following the Civil War were pulled out of the region. The withdrawal was followed by lynchings and Jim Crow laws that systematically took political power away from blacks in the South.