South Carolina's governor demands removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse after Charleston killings

Amid shouts of 'Thank you, governor!' South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that it was time for her state to remove a Confederate battle flag that flies high above the state capitol's grounds.

And if her state's legislature fails to act, she said, she will call them back for a special legislative session to force the issue.
'For many people in our state, the flag stands for traditions that are noble,' Haley said in a nod to the deep south's history.

'At the same time for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past. We do not need to declare a winner and a loser here.'

'It's time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,' she said. '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 great state.'
Haley maintained that South Carolinians could determine whether to keep the stars-and-bars emblem alive in their personal lives, 'but the statehouse is different.'

South Carolina had already seen the Confederate flag, which many African-Americans see as a vestige of southern states' centuries-long support for institutionalized slavery, removed from the dome of the capitol itself in 2000.

Since then it has flown in front of the building, above a memorial honoring veterans of the U.S. Civil War. Many southerners still see the flag as a symbol of their heritage and deny the significance of its racial overtones.

Haley was joined Monday by Republican Sen. Tim Scott, the U.S. Senate's only African-American GOP member – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is the lone black Demcorat.

Scott was the first black southerner elected to the Senate since the 1880s.

Also at the press conference supporting Haley was Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is running for president.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus stood alongside them.
'Now is the time to do what is right, and I support the call by Governor Haley and South Carolina leaders to remove the Confederate battle flag from state house grounds,' Priebus said in a statement.

'This flag has become too divisive and too hurtful for too many of our fellow Americans.'
The flag became a political hot potato after a white gunman shot dead nine worshipers in an historic African Methodist Epispocal church, sending residents of Charleston into a tailspin and bringing protesters out of the woodwork to burn Confederate flags in protest.

On the morning after the mass-shooting, the Confederate flag remained aloft while other state flags were ordered lowered to half-staff as a sign of mourning. 

Credit: Daily Mail