TUPELO • A viral video clip of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith filmed in Tupelo earlier this month made the rounds on social media on Sunday.
The video, which was filmed on Friday, Nov. 2 at Fairpark in downtown Tupelo, shows Sen. Hyde-Smith jesting about sitting on the “front row” of a “public hanging” if she were invited by cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson, seen with her in the brief clip.
Mike Espy, Hyde-Smith’s opponent in the upcoming Nov. 27 runoff election sent out a statement late Sunday afternoon regarding the video.
“Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comments are reprehensible,” Espy said. “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.”
Lamar White Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief, posted the 10-second clip to his Twitter account Sunday morning just before 10 a.m.
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Hyde-Smith said arm-in-arm with Hutchison, surrounded by supporters holding campaign signs.
Hyde-Smith responded to the comments she made in the video in a statement following the Espy campaign’s rebuke.
“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.”
The video comes just days after Hyde-Smith agreed to meet Espy for a public debate ahead of the runoff, as well as the highly publicized firing of a hospital worker seen voting in Mississippi on Tuesday in a shirt that featured a Confederate flag with a noose at its center and the words “Mississippi Justice.”