Hours before the polls close in Mississippi in the Senate runoff between Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democratic challenger Mike Espy, Fox News’ Pete Hegseth argued that Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” remarks that have rocked her campaign isn’t racist because she didn’t specifically use the word “lynching.”
Serving as Outnumbered’s #OneLuckyGuy on Tuesday, the weekend Fox & Friends host predicted that Hyde-SMith would with the race due to Mississippi being a red state before saying that someone can say “graceless things” but it doesn’t make them “racist things.”
“Do you think talking about a lynching is not a racial connotation?” liberal co-host Jessica Tarlov interjected.
Hegseth said he didn’t want to get into the “semantics of it” before Tarlov told him he “had too” because she said lynching.
“She did not say lynching,” he stated. “She said public hanging. That would refer to lawful executions at certain times in the 19th and 20th centuries. No, really! I’m not saying — you are playing in the field you want to play in, which is saying this lady is a racist. She’s saying her public career shows that she isn’t.”
It should be noted that besides her much-maligned comments on attending a public hanging, Hyde-Smith also sent her daughter to a “segregation academy” after attending one herself, was pictured wearing Confederate regalia and has also applauded Confederate history, and joked with supporters that they need to make it tougher for certain liberals to vote. So, one could say that her public career hasn’t exactly shown she isn’t racist.
Tarlov would highlight some of those other instances while pointing out that mentioning attending a public hanging in the Deep South congers up imagery of lynchings. They went on to argue a bit more, culminating in Tarlov asking Hegseth if he thought her comments were funny since he didn’t feel they were racist and causing anchor Harris Faulkner to admonish her.
“Jessica, come on, he didn’t say it was funny,” Faulkner said in a very serious tone before concluding that the Mississippi voters will decide this.
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.