SC Gov: 'Time Has Come' to Remove Confederate Flag
South Carolina's Gov. Nikki Haley says the Confederate flag should be taken from the grounds of the state capitol.
Haley had opposed removing the symbol in the past. But pictures of the man who killed nine people in a historic black church last week posing with the flag changed her mind.
"We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand," Haley said.
Haley called on lawmakers to vote on the issue by the end of the summer. If they don't, she said she'll call a special session of the legislature.
"150 years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come," Haley said, surrounded by Democrats and Republican lawmakers. "That flag, while an integral part of the past, does not represent the future of our great state"
The White House said President Barack Obama respects the state of South Carolina's authority to decide the issue, but believes the flag belongs in a museum.
The Charleston tragedy is forcing other states to deal with the issue. Mississippi's House Speaker Philip Gunn said the symbol should be removed from the state flag.
Tennessee lawmakers are also considering removing a bust of Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forest from the state Senate.