South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday called for removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House grounds.
She said, “150 years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come. This is a moment in which we can say that the flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our state.”
While many South Carolinian may view the flag as a symbol of “respect, integrity and duty,” it still remains “a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past,” Haley said, citing last week’s shooting by a white gunman at a historic African-American church in Charleston, killing nine people. The alleged gunman, Dylann Roof, was caught the following day. Law enforcement officials are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
The debate over displaying the Confederate flag reignited after photos surfaced of Roof holding the flag and posting racist material. On Saturday, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for the flag’s removal on Twitter:
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 20, 2015
Following Haley’s press conference on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The fact that it continues to be a painful reminder of racial oppression to many suggests to me at least that it’s time to move beyond it.”