Politics & Government

President Trump to hold rally in Biloxi the day before US Senate runoff election

President Donald Trump will visit Biloxi on Nov. 26 to campaign for embattled U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican.

The president will hold a rally at 8 p.m. that day at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, his campaign confirmed Saturday.

Trump also will hold another rally with Hyde-Smith earlier in the day in Tupelo.

“President Trump is so committed to getting out the vote for Cindy Hyde-Smith that he scheduled two rallies in the great state of Mississippi on the day before the runoff election,” said Michael Glassner, chief operating officer for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. “The president needs all hands on deck on election day on Nov. 27 so he can continue to count on Senator Hyde-Smith’s outstanding support for his America First agenda.”

Hyde is facing Democrat Mike Espy in the runoff election, and the race has drawn national attention after a video surfaced with Hyde-Smith making remarks about “a public hanging,”

Louisiana political blogger Lamar White Jr. posted a video Sunday morning of Hyde-Smith at a Tupelo campaign event Nov. 2. Referring to a rancher she has known for years, Hyde-Smith said in the video, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Major television networks, cable news shows and national news publications joined Mississippi media in reporting her comment and the state’s history of lynching African-Americans. The 10-second video has been viewed on Twitter more than 4 million times.

Hyde-Smith issued a statement, calling her remark “an exaggerated expression of regard,” but did not apologize. Gov. Phil Bryant also leapt to the defense of Hyde-Smith, whom he appointed to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Thad Cochran, saying she “meant no ill will.”

As she tried to recover from that video, White posted a second one Nov. 15, in which she appeared to endorse voter suppression as a “great idea” to a group outside her tour bus Nov. 3 in Starkville.

Hyde-Smith characterized her comments as “a joke.” She refused to discuss either video with the Sun Herald as she shook hands at a Gulfport Business Council economic breakfast Friday in Biloxi. She was accompanied by at least one member of the Republican National Committee as she worked the room and quickly exited through a side door once the event ended.

Hyde-Smith countered the videos with a news release about Espy’s lobbying earlier this decade for an African dictator currently on trial for crimes against humanity, a story that also has been covered by the national media.

Trump last visited the state Oct. 2, endorsing Hyde-Smith at a North Mississippi rally as she campaigned against Republican challenger Chris McDaniel.

Hyde-Smith and Espy are expected to participate in their only debate of the election season the evening of Nov. 20 in Jackson.

Trump’s upcoming trip to Mississippi was publicized earlier in the week as a possibility, but not confirmed. Shortly after the report, Trump engaged in a Twitter tirade against Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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