Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith jokes about “sitting in the front row” at a “public hanging” in a state that has a long history of racism and lynching African Americans.

While standing next to cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson, Hyde-Smith, who is in a Nov. 27 runoff race with Democrat Mike Espy, said, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be in the front row.”

Lamar White Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief, tweeted the video on Sunday. Donald Trump has created a toxic environment that has many on the right with the belief that they can do and say inflammatory, racist and bigoted comments with no qualms.

Hyde-Smith issued an offensive statement:  “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.”

Espy, who is black, issued a scathing statement:  “Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comments are reprehensible” and have “no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or the country.”

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