In a Monday press conference, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley promised to use executive authority to remove the Confederate battle flag flying in front of the state legislature in Columbia, if the state assembly doesn’t take appropriate actions toward achieving that goal.
Haley — joined by senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham — first addressed how, although tragic, last week’s horrific shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charletson had brought both blacks and whites in South Carolina together. “We have stared evil in the eye and watched good prayerful people die in the most sacred of places… Our state is grieving, but we’re also coming together… My children saw that pure hate can never triumph over true love.”
Gov. Haley continued by noting that despite the state’s checkered past, race relations in South Carolina had drastically transformed in the past 50 years. After the death of South Carolinian Walter Scott, Haley noted that “South Carolina did not respond with riots and violence, like other places had… [Instead], both Republicans and Democrats, black and white, came together and passed the first body-camera legislation in the country.”
Finally, Haley addressed the underlying issue:
We have changed through the times, and will continue to do so, but that does not mean we will forget our history. On matters of race, South Carolina has a tough history… we don’t need reminders… The flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past. Events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way, and today, we are here in a moment of unity… to say it’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds.
Gov. Haley concluded the press conference by stating she hopes that, in removing the flag, South Carolina “can move forward as a state in harmony and honor the 9 blessed souls that are now in heaven.”