South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (R) has called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capital in Columbia.
The governor, joined by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and others, demanded that state leaders remove the Civil War-era symbol of rebellion. Haley said:
“It’s time to move the flag from the state capitol grounds.”
Speaking with a handful of South Carolina politicians and leaders beside and behind her, Haley continued:
“My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move together in harmony.”
Previously, there had been calls to take down the flag in the wake of the mass shooting that claimed nine lives at the African Emanuel Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston.
A spokesman for President Obama claimed that the commander in chief believes the Confederate flag “belongs in a museum,” while 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney agreed.
Others have weighed in on the cultural debate, like 2016 candidate Jeb Bush, who ordered the flag's removal from the Florida capital nearly 15 years ago.
Prior to the announcement, South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-65) spoke about the speedy effort to reach an agreement on the flag's future:
“Wednesday’s unspeakable tragedy has reignited a discussion on this sensitive issue that holds a long and complicated history in the Palmetto State. Moving South Carolina forward from this terrible tragedy requires a swift resolution of this issue.”
Other states have not moved on the issue, such as Mississippi, which features the Confederate battle flag within its own state flag.
The Post and Courier in South Carolina is currently in the process of questioning every single member of the state government on whether they would support or oppose the removal of the flag.
Editor's note: This article was updated after publication.