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Mississippi Governor Ignores Furor Over Hyde-Smith’s ‘Public Hanging’ Comment, Instead Rails About ‘Black Genocide’ Abortions

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday did his best to deflect from the firestorm over U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” comment by instead ranting about “the genocide of 20 million African-American children” through legal abortions.

Bryant’s made the remarks during a news conference where pro-life group “Right to Life” threw its support behind Hyde-Smith’s bid for re-election, Mississippi Today reported. 

Gov. Phil Bryant

Phil Bryant (left) insisted Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith meant no harm by her “public hanging” comment. (Photo by Amber Helsel/Jackson Free Press)

“See, in my heart, I am confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African- American children that have been aborted. No one wants to say anything about that,” the governor told reporters. “No one wants to talk about that.”

Using the “abortion-as-genocide” theory often spewed by white conservatives regarding a woman’s right to chose, Bryant dodged reporters’ questions about a video posted to social media last week of Hyde-Smith cracking a joke about attending a public hanging.

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” the senator is heard saying during a Nov. 2 campaign event for a cattle rancher in Tupelo, Miss.

Black Democrat Mike Espy, who’s facing Hyde-Smith in a Nov. 7 runoff, decried his opponent’s comment as “reprehensible” and said they had “no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country.” If elected, Espy would become the first African-American senator to represent Mississippi since the Reconstruction era.

Despite harsh criticism over the joke critics argued evoked the South’s ugly history of lynchings, Hyde-Smith insisted her remark was overblown and taken out of context.

“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement,” the senator said in her own statement on Sunday. “In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

At the news conference, Hyde-Smith also refused to answer questions about her “joke” and eventually turned the floor over to Bryant, who approached the podium and started fielding questions from reporters. It wasn’t long before he went off on a tangent about his pro-life views, however.

“Look at African-Americans,” Bryant continued. “According to Wikipedia, had those (black) children not been aborted, the African-American population would be 48 percent larger in America. We can play with those numbers, and we can look at statistics, but the cold, grim truth is, children are being murdered.”

Laurie Bertram-Roberts, executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, called Bryant’s comments absolutely absurd, seeing as The Magnolia State is among one the most dangerous places for women, specifically African-American women, to give birth. A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year showed that Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the country, with 9 out of every 1,00 infants dying before their first birthday.

“First of all, black women are not committing genocide when the same women he’s talking about are the mothers of black children,” Bertram-Roberts told the Jackson Free Press. “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.”

She added: “Number two, Phil Bryant has never made a policy or endorsed a policy that helps black babies in this state.”

Bryant has continued to defend Hyde-Smith amid the backlash, insisting she meant no harm by her comment.

“I can tell you all of us in public life have said things on occasion that we could’ve phrased better,” he said, defending the senator. ” I know this woman and I know her heart. I knew it when I appointed her, and I know it now. She meant no offense by that statement.”

The press conference was ended abruptly not long after.

Gov. Bryant deflects ‘public hanging’ firestorm, says bringing Trump helped race relations and rails about black abortion


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