Voters in Mississippi are heading to the polls Tuesday to choose their new United States Senator in a runoff race that has become a beacon of racial division in the deep south.
Hyde-Smith’s Democratic opponent, former Congressman & Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, has had to defend his honor and place in history as the Magnolia State’s first black Congressman since Reconstruction.
The two candidates sparred in a single, closed-door debate just before Thanksgiving.
President Donald Trump stumped for Hyde-Smith on Monday and declared that Espy had no place in Mississippi.
“If we win tomorrow,” the president boasted, “we’ll be at 53-47 which is substantially more than we had.”
Trump knocked Espy as “far left” and “out there,” despite Espy’s record as a moderate to conservative Democrat.
As MAGA fans jeered, Trump snidely asked of Espy: “How does he fit in in Mississippi?”
On Tuesday morning, Espy responded to Trump’s dig. Espy is Mississippi.
Espy went over his resume, which includes being elected as Mississippi’s first black Congressperson four times and serving as President Bill Clinton’s first Secretary of Agriculture, the first Mississippian to hold that post.
Espy also touted his grandfather’s founding of Afro-American Sons & Daughters, a hospital that provided free health care to anyone who needed it from 1928 until it shut its doors in 1972.
Watch Espy’s response below:
Espy after voting->
NBC: President Trump came to Mississippi yesterday & asked: 'How does he fit into Mississippi?' Your response?
Espy: Well, Mike Espy…was the first [MS] black congressman since the Civil War. Mike Espy was Sec of Ag – first in Miss. to ever hold that post. pic.twitter.com/vTpxjruhid
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) November 27, 2018
Espy’s nephew Chuck, the mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, wrote an emotional defense of his uncle on Twitter Monday night.
“My uncle was the first AfAm Congressman since Reconstruction and first AfAm US Secretary of Agriculture,” wrote the mayor. “How does Mike Espy fit into Mississippi? Mike doesn’t fit in; he lifts up.
My dad was the first AfAm councilman and Mayor in Clarksdale. My uncle was the first AfAm Congressman since Reconstruction and first AfAm US Secretary of Agriculture. How does Mike Espy fit into Mississippi? Mike doesn’t fit in; he lifts up. #Believe 11/27
— Chuck Espy (@chuck_espy) November 27, 2018
Contrary to what Trump may want to believe, there is a lot of excitement swirling around Espy’s Senate candidacy.
I proudly voted for him this morning!!! I was born in Tennessee but I raised in Mississippi and I "DON'T" fit in here either but guess what I'm still a damn Mississippian and I'm tired of the same crap. Mississippi needs to move forward if I could run for office I WOULD!!!!
— ☆💜TiSh💜☆💜Map of the Soul*Persona💜 (@autumspice) November 27, 2018
— Amy Landrum (@amystreveland) November 27, 2018
This is what a man of dignity and respect looks and sounds like
— vhjkk (@vhjkk68837650) November 27, 2018
Of course he is!
— Mary Rose (@Beutifulgame) November 27, 2018
— Sayuri Silverman (@SilvermanSayuri) November 27, 2018
Espy fits right in.
He's only from there and has been elected to Congress there
— Lauren (@sequinpants) November 27, 2018
It's just me saying this, but maybe Mike Espy fits in Mississippi bekause HE'S FROM THERE. I would love to see Fuck-O, the klown's response if asked what he means by that
— AmirHassani (@AmirHassani1020) November 27, 2018
The actual question is, how does Cindy Hyde-Smith fit in with the 21st century? I mean, how does she fit in?
— Chris Alexander (@MarsInsider) November 27, 2018
Twitter tore into Trump for his disrespectful comments about Espy.