The cheers from a group of supporters conjured up, the line seemed to be a throwaway.
"If he had invited me to a public hanging, I would be in the front row," Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss) hears in a video posted on Twitter on Sunday morning.
The full context of her commentary was not immediately clear, but she faced a rapid backlash. Lamar White Jr., a journalist and blogger who tweeted the video, said in his tweet that Hyde-Smith made the comment when he was traveling with a rancher in Tupelo, Miss.
Hyde-Smith was the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress after being appointed in April to replace Thad Cochran, a Republican senator who had to resign for health reasons. She faces Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election on 27 November to find out who will be holding the remaining two years of Cochran's term as neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the November 6 special General Ledger.
Espy and Hyde-Smith, who were endorsed by President Trump, were the two highest votes, each receiving around 41 percent of the vote. If Espy won, he would be the first black senator to represent the state since the reconstruction period.
In a statement on Sunday, Espy cited Hyde-Smith's comments as "reprehensible." He added, "They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi or in our country, we need leaders, not dividers, and their words show that they lack understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state. "
In her own statement on Sunday, Hyde-Smith claimed that her comment was an "exaggerated expression of respect."
"In a commentary on November 2, I advised to accept an invitation to a lecture. In referring to the one who invited me, I have used excessive respect and any attempt to turn it into a negative connotation is ridiculous. "
Many critics of Hyde-Smith's comment also noted the history of racism and hanging of the state. NAACP statistics show that nearly one-eighth of the 4,743 lynching murders took place between 1882 and 1968 in the United States in Mississippi.
Cristen Hemmins, chairman of the Lafayette County Democratic Party in Mississippi, said the video was "absolutely stunning."
"With the history of the lynch of Mississippi you do not say that," said Hemmins in an interview on Sunday. "I can not even imagine what kind of mind would come up with such a dismissive sentence. I am a Mississippian. Nobody I know talks like that. It is absolutely unacceptable. "
Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven, Miss., Is a former US Senator and Agriculture Commissioner in Mississippi. In 2010 she switched to the Republican Party, according to Clarion Ledger. Last week, she vowed to push ahead with Trump's agenda, claiming that "the Republicans will keep this seat" and that she "would fight like no one else's business in the next three weeks"
Trump has vocalized his voice for Hyde-Smith, tweet in August that she is "strong" on issues such as job creation and the planned southern boundary wall, helping him to "put America first".
He added, "Cindy voted for our agenda 100% of the time in the Senate and has my full and complete audit opinion. We need Cindy to win in Mississippi! "
In a rally on October 2 in Southaven, Mississippi, Trump remained for Hyde-Smith.
"She always had my back," he said. "She always had your back. And a vote for Cindy is a vote for me. "
Republicans are to receive seats in the Senate. The majority they had before the election, 51 seats, will be higher – between 52 and 54, depending on the race in Florida and Arizona.