State Sen. Chris McDaniel hosted a town hall at the Oxford Conference Center on Thursday night, where about 50 voters asked McDaniel questions regarding Confederate monuments, a lack of conservative professors at Ole Miss and McDaniel’s thoughts on immigration.
McDaniel is running in the special election for U.S. Senate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.
McDaniel is a three-term state senator from Jones County and an alumnus of the University of Mississippi School of Law. He unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate against former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014.
Sophomore public policy leadership major Channing Curtis asked McDaniel how he felt about President Donald Trump endorsing Hyde-Smith instead of him, and McDaniel said Trump gave the endorsement because Washington leadership forced him to do so.
“How else can you explain Donald Trump endorsing Mitt Romney?” McDaniel asked. “Mitt Romney was as hateful to Trump as a human can be. John McCain wasn’t very nice to Trump, and Trump endorsed him. Paul Ryan wasn’t nice to Trump, and Trump endorsed him.”
An Oxford resident asked McDaniel if he could talk to Ole Miss about getting some “conservative professors,” and the crowd applauded the question.
“I am tired of watching these liberal professors brainwash your children,” McDaniel said. “They claim there’s nothing we can do about it. Sure we can. It’s called hire conservative professors. And they’re out there. They exist. They’re not like a unicorn, and they aren’t this mythical creature.”
McDaniel said he thinks the university should fly the state flag and said, “We don’t take things down because they’re offensive — we discuss them.”
“Sixty-five percent of your state voted to keep that flag,” McDaniel said. “It stays, and if you’re a state institution and you’re utilizing state money, you should be flying it.”
McDaniel sat down for an interview with The Daily Mississippian before the town hall. During the interview, he said that anyone, including college students, is invited to take part in his vision for Mississippi, which is allowing the state’s people to govern themselves.
“If you feel like you should be in control of your own destiny, that’s what I’m offering you,” McDaniel said. “If you feel like the government is micromanaging you to a large extent, I’m offering new freedom from that, financially and otherwise. My position in life is … that you’re able to self govern. And I believe strongly in the concept of self government and the Jeffersonian model.”
Another Oxford resident asked McDaniel if he still planned to introduce legislation about imposing term limits on members of Congress. McDaniel said that this was still part of his plan, because he’s tired of seeing the same people going back to Washington each year.
“There’s too much lobbyist power corrupting the system — too much dirty money and cronyism — that’s been allowed to keep the system disconnected from the people,” McDaniel said. “I would love to see new blood and new energy up there — people that actually understand what it’s like to live day-to-day.”
The special election will take place on Nov. 6.