MSNBC Guest Falsely Claims Hyde-Smith Said She Would Watch 'Public Lynching'

November 27, 2018

An MSNBC guest falsely claimed on Tuesday that Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R., Miss.) said she would watch a "public lynching." He received no correction for the remark.

Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to her seat after Sen. Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) resigned for health reasons in April, is facing Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff for the seat on Tuesday. She took heat earlier this month for praising a cattle rancher by saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row."

Espy, who is African American, and other Democrats were outraged by the comments, pointing to Mississippi's history of lynchings, but Hyde-Smith said she meant nothing racial by the remarks. She apologized for offending anyone during a debate with Espy.

During an appearance with MSNBC host Craig Melvin on Tuesday, former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Doug Thornell claimed Hyde-Smith said she would attend a "lynching."

"I think President Trump also galvanizes African-American voters, and also, Hyde-Smith's comment ... It's more than unfortunate to talk about how you would accept an invitation to watch a public lynching," he said. "It's more than unfortunate to say that, and also to openly express that you support voter suppression tactics for voters in liberal areas, so those comments, I think, have lit a fire among Democrats in the state."

Thornell went on to say Hyde-Smith was an embarrassing choice of Senate nominee for the state, and Melvin did not correct his comment.

President Donald Trump, who campaigned for Hyde-Smith on Monday, told reporters she "misspoke."