Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is catching heat yet again, this time for a photo of her sporting a Confederate soldier’s hat and holding a rifle in a social media post that surfaced this week.
“Mississippi history at its best!” Hyde-Smith wrote on Facebook.
According to Politico, the photo was taken during the GOP lawmaker’s visit to the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in 2014. Davis served as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and his former estate now includes a museum and library honoring his legacy.
“I enjoyed my tour of Beauvoir. The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library located in Biloxi,” Hyde-Smith, 59, added. “This is a must see. Currently on display are the artifacts connected to the daily life of the Confederate Soldier including weapons.”
The photo comes amid recent controversy over remarks Hyde-Smith made about attending a public hanging. While out campaigning with a cattle rancher in Tupelo, Mississippi, earlier this month, the senator joked that she’d “be in the front row” if one of her supporters were to invite her to a public hanging.
The comment drew swift backlash from critics who saw Hyde-Smith’s comment as racist and a bitter reminder of Mississippi’s ugly history of lynchings. According to the NAACP, Mississippi had greatest number of lynchings of African-Americans of any state between 1877 and 1950, most of which were done in front of crowds of white spectators.
Black Democrat Mike Espy, who’s facing off against Hyde-Smith in a Nov. 2 runoff, called his opponent’s comment “reprehensible.”
“They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country,” Espy said. “We need leaders, not dividers. Her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.”
Hyde-Smith tried to downplay her remarks as an “an exaggerated expression of regard,” but it did little to quell the outrage.
Other photos from the senator’s museum visit show her pointing a large rifle and holding a sword.
“You look right at home aiming that rifle,” one Facebook user commented at the time. “As soon as you serve your two term limit as gov. we can go coon hunting!! I’ll tote the light. You can shoot!”
Furor over Hyde-Smith’s recent antics has prompted several companies, including Walmart, to ask for their donations to the senator’s campaign be refunded. Politico reports that the retailer contributed $2,000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign on Nov. 18.