Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) laughingly repeated sexist jokes as the keynote speaker at a 2011 Mississippi Farm Bureau convention as the audience guffawed in a recently unearthed video.
It’s the latest controversy to hit the candidate on the eve of a special election as President Donald Trump stumped for her in Mississippi on Monday evening.
“If your wife is knocking on the front and the dog is barking at the back door, which one do you let in first?” Hyde-Smith asked in her convention speech, quoting men she referred to as “crusty gentlemen.” The punchline? “The dog, of course. It quits barking when it gets inside.” (Watch the video above, beginning at 9:25.)
She also repeated a joke about a man implicating his wife as a witness to an armed bank robbery, apparently as a ploy to convince the robber to shoot her in the head.
Hyde-Smith told the jokes at the Farm Bureau convention when she was Mississippi’s commissioner of agriculture, an elective position.
She was making the point that some men had a difficult time imagining her in the role. But she made no negative comments about the jokes she repeated, which triggered laughter from the audience.
She also said that, before she was voted in as the commissioner, she made a campaign stop with her female driver at Gautier’s men’s club. When she and her female driver were asked if they were the pole dancers, she told them “No,” she said, laughing. “I took Gautier real big. And that’s all we’re going to say about that.” (At 8:35 in the video.)
Hyde-Smith has already been accused of racism, and she lost campaign contributions for joking earlier this month that she’d be willing to watch a “public hanging” (she later apologized) and for posing in a Confederate hat. It also was revealed that Hyde-Smith’s parents sent her to a segregated school.
But the convention video, posted on the Farm Bureau’s YouTube channel and reposted on Twitter, is the first major event triggering charges of sexism against Hyde-Smith.
Some defenders on Twitters said Hyde-Smith was simply repeating sexist jokes. Others, dumbfounded by the sexist digs, said the offensive jokes should not have been repeated and definitely not with a smile and no comment about why they were inappropriate.
Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate earlier this year by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Thad Cochran (R). She faces former Congressman Mike Espy (D) in a special election Tuesday.