*Flanked by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and other black leaders, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley today officially called for the confederate flag to be removed from the Capitol grounds.
At a 4 p.m. press conference in Columbia, Haley began by underscoring how Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old man charged in the murders of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday views the flag in a “sick, twisted” way that does most South Carolinians do not.
“We do not need to declare a winner or a loser here,” Gov. Haley said. “We respect freedom of expression and for those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property, no one will stand in your way. But the statehouse is different, and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way.
“Fifteen years ago after much contentious debate, South Carolina came together in a bipartisan way to move the flag from atop the capitol dome. Today, we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it’s time to move the flag from the capital grounds.”
The room erupted in sustained applause.
Haley said she respect those in her state who will “see this as a sad moment,” and that “the flag will always be part of the soil of South Carolina.”
“But this is a moment in which we can say that that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” she stated.