Additional video footage has now been released from the public comments in which Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith joked about being in the front row to witness a public hanging. The brief clip that had brought public scrutiny before turns out to be part of a longer series of comments, including Hyde-Smith’s boast that she bought her daughter a lifetime NRA membership as a birthday gift (for the child’s second birthday), and declaring the U.S. a ‘pagan country’ for allowing legal abortion.
The full video, almost 25 minutes long, was released by the Jackson Free Press, which received it from a political tracker who asked that his name be redacted from the recording and kept private.
The Senator can be seen in the video talking to reporters, though the ‘public hanging’ comments were not reported before the clip was released. Hyde-Smith was temporarily appointed to the seat in March to fill a vacancy left by Thad Cochran, who resigned due to health concerns. On Tuesday, voters in Mississippi will head to the polls to determine whether she continues as senator for a full term, or is replaced by Democratic challenger Mike Espy.
— Wayne Hereford WTVA (@wherefordwtva) November 2, 2018
Though the comments — in which Hyde-Smith says of a supporter, “I would fight a circular saw for him. If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” — were initially made on November 2nd, in front of reporters with cameras, the Clarion Ledger reported that video of the declaration only surfaced a week later.
As scrutiny of the comments continued yet another week later, Hyde-Smith released a statement, according to USA Today, equating the ‘public hanging’ joke to her comment about a circular saw: “Obviously I would not stick my arm in a circle saw.” The senator did not address that circular saws don’t hold the racially charged history in the United States that public hangings carry.
On Sunday night President Donald Trump tweeted to again affirm his support of Cindy Hyde-Smith, not addressing the controversy, but asserting that the senator is “respected by all.”
If the release of the longer video has changed anything, it’s not clear in the president’s actions. Fox News reports that Trump is spending Monday in Mississippi, where he will rally for Cindy Hyde-Smith the last day before the election.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com