HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A University of Southern Mississippi student group is calling for U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to resign following recent controversial comments the senator made.
Hyde-Smith made national headlines after a video surfaced from a Nov. 2 campaign rally in Tupelo. In the video, Hyde-Smith said of a cattle rancher she was campaigning with, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
Thursday, a new video came to light showing Hyde-Smith speaking to a group of supporters in Starkville on Nov. 3. In that video, Hyde-Smith makes a comment that appears to be joking about voter suppression.
The student group Southern Miss Common Cause, with backing from several faculty members, said Friday that Hyde-Smith is not welcome on the USM campus and condemned her “public hanging” comment as racist.
“I would definitely like to see her drop out of the race, resign, all those things, because what she said is not OK,” said Southern Miss Common Cause President Brandon Rue. “Trent Lott said some racist things back in his time, and he was kicked out of office for it and resigned. What’s the difference now? Has our climate changed that much to where she can say something so blatant and not have any repercussions with it?”
Hyde-Smith’s campaign has responded to both videos, saying the “public hanging” comment was used as an “exaggerated expression” and the alleged voter suppression remark was “a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited.”
WDAM reached out to Hyde-Smith’s camp on Friday for a response on the reaction from Southern Miss Common Cause. We have not received a response.
Hyde-Smith will face Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election on Nov. 27 to decide who will serve the rest of retired Sen. Thad Cochran’s term. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to the seat in April until a special election could be held in November.
Hyde-Smith and Espy will debate on Nov. 20. That debate will air live on WDAM-ABC from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will also be streaming on WDAM.com.