The Cindy Hyde-Smith “public hanging” controversy has been particularly dumb, but par for the course in the current environment. When she said she would show up at the front row of a public hanging if her friend and supporter Colin Hutchinson invited her, she was using an expression to say how much regard she had for Hutchinson, not that she liked public hangings. Otherwise, the line doesn’t work — it’s only a compliment of Hutchinson if she’s willing to do, on his invitation, something she doesn’t want to do. This has been obvious all along, but it’s even more obvious with the full version of the video clip, where she also offers to fight a circle saw for Hutchinson — and, again, not because she relishes the prospect of fighting circle saws.
The full exchange via the Jackson Free Press:
Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” remark, which drew criticism because of its insensitivity to Mississippi’s dark history of lynchings of African Americans, comes nears the end of the footage.
“This is one of my favorite folks right here,” Hyde-Smith says, calling up a supporter and friend, Colin Hutchinson.
“She helped me out a lot,” Hutchinson says. “She’s a good hometown person. She would do anything for you.”
“I didn’t ask for this, except just then,” Hyde-Smith, who had just implored the crowd to vote for her, says.
Hutchinson continues speaking, though part of his comments are rendered unintelligible by the blaring of a nearby train.
“I support her 100 percent,” Hutchinson says, his arm around Hyde-Smith’s shoulders.
“I would fight a circle saw for him. If he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row,” Hyde-Smith says, drawing applause and laughter from some in the crowd.
“Then do it,” one woman in the crowd can be heard shouting—a detail not present in the original video.