South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, will reportedly call for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.
The Post and Courier reported that Haley will hold a press conference Monday afternoon to express her position on the issue, which has become a renewed focus after a racially motivated church shooting that left nine people dead last week.
Haley’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, South Carolina state Rep. Doug Brannon, a Republican, has vowed to introduce legislation that would remove the Confederate flag from federal buildings.
Brannon said he’ll introduce the bill as soon as he can, expressing regret that he hadn’t done so earlier in his career.
“The switch that flipped was the death of my friend Sen. [Clementa] Pinckney,” Brannon told CBS News. “I’ve been in the House five years. I should have filed that bill five years ago. But the time is now. I can’t let my friend the senator’s death go without fundamental change in South Carolina,” Brannon said.
Brannon’s prospective legislation won’t be the first time that the state has been pushed to remove the Confederate battle flag from its official grounds. In 2000, after protests at the state capital, the flag was removed from the capitol dome and moved just yards away to a nearby confederate memorial. Pro-Confederate flag activists present at the ceremony chanted “Off the dome, and in your face,” according to The Washington Post.
But the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston has again rallied support against the symbol. On Saturday night, graffiti artists painted the words, “Black Lives Matter,” on a Confederate memorial in Charleston. The question on whether to remove the flag has vexed Republican presidential candidates — some of whom have called for its removal and others of whom have hedged and urged the issue to be left to South Carolina to decide.
Despite the tragic, racially motivated killings last week, the issue of the flag remains a divisive issue. Brannon told CBS that he feared that his push to ban the flag would cost him his reelection. In 2000, Sen. John McCain flip-flopped several times about his position on the flag’s place in South Carolina.
“I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary,” McCain told The New York Times in 2000. “So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth.”
The issue of the flag, as part of a larger discussion about racial violence in America, has become a talking point for presidential hopefuls and pundits alike. Below are some tweets from influential politicians in response to the tragedy:
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