/Nikki Haley: Confederate flag was hijacked after Charleston church shooting
Nikki Haley: Confederate flag was hijacked after Charleston church shooting

Nikki Haley: Confederate flag was hijacked after Charleston church shooting


WASHINGTON – Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is defending comments she made in a recent interview, saying that South Carolinians once equated the Confederate flag with “service and sacrifice and heritage” before the shooter in the 2015 deadly attack on a Charleston church “hijacked” it.
“You had what was just horrible. Twelve people who went and did what so many South Carolinians do every Wednesday night — they went to Bible study. But on this night someone else showed up and he didn’t look like them, he didn’t act like them and he didn’t sound like them. And they didn’t throw him out. They didn’t call the cops. They pulled up a chair and they prayed with him for an hour. And when they bowed their heads in that last prayer, he began to shoot,” Haley told conservative radio host Glenn Beck, recalling the night a white supremacist killed nine people and injured three others at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
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“This was one of the oldest African American churches — these 12 people were amazing people, they loved their church, they loved their family, they loved their community. And here is this guy that comes out with this manifesto, holding the Confederate flag and had just hijacked everything that people thought of (about the flag),” she stated.
Haley continued that they “don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority that’s always gonna be there, but, you know, people saw it as service, and sacrifice, and heritage, but once he did that there was no way to overcome it.”
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After the video was posted to Twitter, however, many users took exception to her comments.
State Representative JA Moore, who lost his sister in the shooting, tweeted, “Let’s be clear @NikkiHaley continued use of this tragedy for political reasons is disgusting.”
Michael Steel, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, tweeted: “Really, Nikki?! The Confederate Flag represented “service, sacrifice and heritage”? To whom? The black people who were terrorized & lynched in its name? You said it should never have been there. Roof didn’t hijack the meaning of that flag, he inherited it.”
Haley also took to Twitter following the interview to clarify her statement, including a link to her remarks in 2015, saying that year “was a painful time for our state” and that she stands by her call to remove the flag then.
She said in those remarks at the time, “For many people in our state, the flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of heritage, and of ancestry” and that the shooter had a “sick and twisted view of the flag. In no way does he reflect the people in our state who respect and, in many ways, revere it.”
However, she also recognized the flag could cause pain, and others may view “the flag as a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”
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