Black Democrats have harsh criticisms for Mississippi’s Republican governor after he thanked President Donald Trump and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) for designating the home of a civil rights icon a national monument — but not the black lawmaker who made it happen.
USA Today reported that Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant was “despicable” for ignoring the work of Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the lone black member of the state’s congressional delegation, in acquiring monument status for the childhood home of Medgar Evers.
In a tweet earlier in the week, Bryant thanked Trump and said Hyde-Smith and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) “worked very hard on this for some time and are to be commended.”
Thank you to @realDonaldTrump for signing legislation today to designate Medgar and Myrlie Evers home as a National Monument. @SenatorWicker & @SenHydeSmith have worked very hard on this for some time and are to be commended. pic.twitter.com/ORtKS4fE0Y
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 12, 2019
“Give adequate credit,” Thompson tweeted, quoting the governor’s post. “I’ve worked on this for 16 years.”
Give adequate credit. I’ve worked on this for 16 years. https://t.co/8YYk3A75m3
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) March 14, 2019
After Thompson pointed out Bryant’s omission, the governor then accused the congressman of sowing the same kind of “anger and hatred” that “separated our people in the civil rights era.”
“He has become a tragic figure who has squandered this opportunity to help bring our state together,” Bryant told the local WJTV news station.
On Friday, Evers’ widow, Myrtlie Evers-Williams, told SiriusXM host Joe Madison that she was “incensed” that the GOP governor failed to credit Thompson.
“I have given too much to sit down and be quiet about something that I feel is unjust,” the 87-year-old civil rights veteran told the radio host. “How dare that be taken and given credit to one or two people who are new.”
The CBC chair said that although she’s unfamiliar with Bryant’s tenure, she thought his omission and attacks on Thompson were “despicable.”
“You can take my word the entire Congressional Black Caucus was highly offended that he would be so disrespectful of one our most important members and a member who chairs a full committee – the Homeland Security Committee,” Bass said. “For him to disrespect him in the manner that he did, I hope the governor of Mississippi knows that the slight will not go unnoticed.”
The USA Today report noted that Hyde-Smith, a freshman senator, was revealed to have made “joking” comments about a “public hanging” when she was running against Mike Espy, a black Democratic candidate, last fall.
As Raw Story reported last November, Hyde-Smith also was photographed posing and smiling in a Confederate uniform.