Trump Will Host Two Rallies For GOP Sen Who Joked About Attending Public Hanging

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (L) stands on stage with US President Donald Trump at a "Make America Great Again" rally at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, on October 2, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (... Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (L) stands on stage with US President Donald Trump at a "Make America Great Again" rally at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, on October 2, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 17, 2018 3:36 p.m.

President Donald Trump will hold two campaign rallies a week from Monday in support of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), who in recent weeks has joked about attending a public hanging and limiting voting rights for liberals.

Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign on Saturday announced two rallies in Mississippi on Monday, Nov. 26 — one day before the special election to determine who will serve the final two years of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) term. Hyde-Smith, who’s facing off against Democrat Mike Espy on Nov. 27, was appointed to the seat in April when Cochran resigned due to health concerns.

In the past week, Hyde-Smith has been criticized for joking about attending a public hanging — she said, referring to a supporter, that “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row” — and later for speaking openly about attempting to suppress liberal voters.

“There’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote,” Hyde-Smith said while speaking to Mississippi State University students. “Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult, and I think that’s a great idea.”

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Both comments were posted online by Lamar White, Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief. Hyde-Smith called her first comment, about the public hanging, an “exaggerated expression” and a spokesperson said the second, about limiting voting rights, was “obviously” a joke.

Espy said of Hyde-Smith’s remarks about the public hanging: “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.”

And a spokesperson for Espy’s campaign said in a statement following Hyde-Smith’s comment about voter suppression: “For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter.”

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