Trump defends Hyde-Smith

Aaron Brown
November 30, 2018

Hyde-Smith was in her second term as MS agriculture commissioner when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to temporarily succeed GOP Sen.

Particularly significant was his praise for former Senator Thad Cochran, the longtime Republican officeholder who retired early this year.

A video of Ms Hyde-Smith apparently encouraging voter suppression also emerged on Twitter.

At the first of two Election Eve rallies President Trump encouraged the crowd in Tupelo to "get out" and vote in Tuesday's runoff election.

But on Monday, he painted Democrats as radical and risky as he stumped for Republican Sen.

Hyde-Smith has latched onto Trump at every turn, touring the state in a bus that has a large picture of the two of them plastered on its side.

"Well, I know her and I know she apologized, and she misspoke", Trump told reporters on Moday at the White House, according to Politico.

But Elizabeth Gallinghouse, 84, from the coastal town of Diamondhead, voted for Hyde-Smith and said neither the "hanging" comments nor Hyde-Smith's appearance in the Confederate hat bothered her.

She is up against Democrat Mike Espy, who is seeking to become Mississippi's first black senator since Reconstruction.

Republicans here describe the comments in softer terms. "All the mud-slinging. I don't like mud-slinging and both of them are doing that".

Shortly after the win Tuesday, Trump tweeted: "Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the Great State of Mississippi". But, it just kind of puts you on the fence. But, "if you don't vote for her, it's a vote for him", she added. Hyde-Smith said the comment had been twisted and turned into "a political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain by my opponent".

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"They are hurtful to millions of Mississippians who are people of goodwill", Espy said on CNN.

But so far, it appears that none of the controversy surrounding Ms Hyde-Smith will be enough to unseat her - most polls project victory for the Republican.

A video surfaced of Hyde-Smith saying at a small rally in Tupelo, Mississippi: "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row".

But Republicans CBS News spoke with were much more likely to be there to support the president than Hyde-Smith, although some acknowledged that her winning will help his agenda.

With all 35 Senate races decided, the Republicans hold a 53-47 edge - a pickup of two seats.

Nevertheless she is expected to win in the staunchly Republican state.

"We do think we have a real shot", Trippi said, comparing Tuesday's election to the Alabama race.

"There's an election tomorrow?" one student at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College said. While she remains the favorite in Tuesday's election, her missteps have given an opening to former Democratic congressman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy.

"She certainly didn't mean that and it was taken a certain way, but she certainly didn't mean it", he said. She said of her decision to have a child later in life, "At 39 years old, I knew I wanted a child". Forty-five percent of respondents said they voted for Espy on November 6, while 44 percent said they voted for Hyde-Smith, while 12 percent said they voted for McDaniel.

"She stood up to the Democrat smear machine", Trump said. "Up until that point I thought well maybe - maybe I could at least be accepting".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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