Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Mississippi is burning. It always has been.

As U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is preparing to face a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy on Nov. 27, Hyde-Smith just can’t seem to stop stepping in it. And by “it,” I mean racism.

Advertisement

In a video that has now been shared across all social platforms, Hyde-Smith appears to be speaking during a campaign event about support from a Mississippi rancher.

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” the senator is heard saying in the video.

During a press conference Monday, Hyde-Smith was being questioned about her comments and the racial insensitivity of it all, considering her opponent is a black man. Hyde-Smith, in her southern drawl, just kept noting that she’d issued a statement and that was all she was going to say about the matter.

Advertisement

The statement she’s referring to basically said that she was making a joke and if you’re offended, well that’s on you. It’s not clear if Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant was trying to help Hyde-Smith out but he stepped to the podium and attempted to deflect all of the questions aimed at Hyde-Smith by claiming that black women are participating in “the genocide of 20 million African American children” through legal abortions.

“See, in my heart, I am confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African-American children that have been aborted,” Bryant said, with Hyde-Smith and National Right to Life President Carol Tobias standing nearby, the Free Press reports.

“No one wants to say anything about that. No one wants to talk about that.”

The Free Press reports:

Bryant’s use of the abortion-as-genocide conspiracy theory about a woman’s right to choose a legal abortion, a trope popular with white conservatives, comes amid a state and national outcry after it went viral Sunday that Hyde-Smith had made a comment about “public hangings” at a campaign stop in Tupelo. She is in a run-off to keep her U.S. Senate set on Tuesday, Nov. 27, against former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, who would become Mississippi’s first African American senator since Reconstruction, should he win the race.

Anti-abortion activists, white and black, often point to black women choosing abortion as a form of “genocide” of African Americans. “Look at African Americans,” Bryant said Monday morning. “According to Wikipedia, had those (black) children not been aborted, the African American population would be 48 percent larger in America. Forty-eight percent larger. We can play with those numbers, and we can look at statistics, but the cold, grim truth is, children are being murdered.” (At press time, we had not located the Wikipedia page Bryant referred to.)

The “black genocide” charge draws heavy criticism from African-American women who work to increase better health and reproductive care for Mississippi mothers.

“It is absurd that a governor in a state that has one of the worst maternal and infant mortality rates in the country, where it is one of the most dangerous places for women to give birth—black women to give birth, specifically—would talk about abortion being black genocide,” Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund Executive Director Laurie Bertram-Roberts said today.

#“First of all, black women are not committing genocide when the same women he’s talking about are the mothers of black children,” she said. “To commit genocide, you have to be trying to eliminate a race of people. By definition, that cannot be black mothers. The majority of women who have abortions are also mothers. … Number two, Phil Bryant has never made a policy or endorsed a policy that helps black babies in this state.”

Advertisement

So there you have it. For Mississippi’s Republican leadership, terminating an unwanted pregnancy is exactly like murder. Apparently, they are only pro-life when it comes to unborn black people.

It is also important to note that a Mississippi Today report determined almost every statement made by Bryant was incorrect or blatantly false.

Bryant is an anti-abortion wingnut who was the chairman of the Personhood initiative in Mississippi in 2011, which is an extreme way of claiming that from inception—even if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest—a fetus cannot be aborted, including instances to save the mother’s life. The initiative failed, bigly.

Advertisement

Because Bryant had gone full nut job in spouting off all of this black genocide bullshit, he rounded out his speech noting that: “Cindy Hyde-Smith is fighting for those children. This Christian woman, this mother, this wife has fought hard to protect those unborn. And she will do so in the United States Senate as she continues,” Bryant said.

Meanwhile, Hyde-Smith was looking at Bryant like thanks for all the help, fuckwad.