South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will call for the Confederate Flag to be removed from the South Carolina capitol grounds, reported the Washington Post.
Gov. Haley plans on making the announcement on Monday afternoon during a press conference. The announcement comes in the wake of a deadly shooting last week that killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The massacre rekindled the debate over whether the Confederate flag should fly on government property.
Presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will reportedly attend the press conference at Haley’s side, just days after doubling down on his support for the Confederate flag.
After last week’s shooting, all the flags near the Confederate Soldiers Monument were flown at half-mast, except for the Confederate flag because it was fixed with a padlock to prevent removal. South Carolina state law prohibited any adjustment of the flag.
Once the flag is removed, it will be placed in a state museum. Conservative state lawmakers who were once apprehensive about removing are now agreeing to its removal.
“It’s appropriate,” said state Sen. Paul Campbell (R-Charleston). “The Confederate memorial is there for a reason. We need to celebrate those people because it’s part of our history. When it’s abused by jerks like Roof, then you have to look at it from a different perspective.”
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley was more direct about the flag’s removal.
“The time has come for the Confederate battle flag to move from a public position in front of the state capitol to a place of history,” said Riley. It “was appropriated years and years ago as a symbol of hate.”
Riley is half-right. It’s time for the flag to be moved into a museum, but it has always been a symbol of hate. The Ku Klux Klan, since its birth, rallied under the flag to exercise its message of segregation and violence.
South Carolina is a red state with a deeply conservative constituency. Sixty-one percent of residents believe the flag should be left alone.
It’s been a long time coming. But the Confederate flag, wherever it’s being flown, needs to be retired. It’s a relic of old America. The southern traditionalists clinch onto the flag and revere the days of when that flag actually carried meaning. Thankfully, that meaning is dying, and killing the flag will speed up the process.