The American Civil Liberties Union slammed Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on Wednesday for her comments about a “public hanging.”
The Republican senator drew the ire of the ACLU when video leaked Sunday of Ms. Hyde-Smith speaking at a campaign stop on Nov. 2.
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” she said, referring to a man sitting nearby.
ACLU’s legal director Jeff Robinson and the executive director in Mississippi Jennifer Riley Collins said in a joint statement that the senator “should be ashamed of herself.”
“The fact that she chooses to use such repugnant language despite the ugly history in her state speaks to her lack of concern and knowledge about the experience of people who don’t look like her,” the statement said.
“To celebrate the chance to sit in the front row of a public hanging demonstrates a profound ignorance of the state’s institutional legacy of racism,” the ACLU statement continued.
Ms. Hyde-Smith released a statement after the video went viral, saying that she was using an “exaggerated expression” that shouldn’t be spun negatively.
She and Democrat Mike Espy, who is black, will face off again in a runoff election on Nov. 27.
• Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misquoted Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comment from the video.
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