In the wake of the South Carolina church massacre, the state's governor, Nikki Haley, and its two senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, all Republicans, today called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state Capitol. "On matters of race, South Carolina has a tough history. We all know that," Haley said at a press conference shown on NBC. She noted many South Carolinians see the flag as a memorial of those who fell during the Civil War or as a reminder of the state's history, but that for some, "the flag is a deeply offensive symbol." Though she respects both viewpoints, since some people including the shooter use the flag as a "symbol of hate," "it's time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds," she said, to much applause.
"There will be some in our state who will see this as a sad moment. I respect that," she said. However, "the flag will always be a part of the soil of South Carolina. ... But that flag ... does not represent the future of our great state." She notes that the shooter wanted to start a race war, but instead, "by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony." She added that "discussion and debate" would follow in the state Senate and House.