COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds, reversing her position on the divisive symbol.
The Republican’s about-face Monday came after a young white man who embraced the flag as a symbol of white supremacy was charged with murder in the deaths of nine black church members.
The flag has flown in front of the state Capitol for 15 years after being moved from atop the Statehouse dome.
Haley was surrounded by Republicans and Democrats alike and received a loud applause and cheering when she made her announcement.
“One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come,” she said.
The suspect in the church shootings, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was photographed earlier holding Confederate flags.
Police said he made racial insults at the church members during the shooting.
Supporters of the flag said it is a memorial to fallen Confederate soldiers, but opponents said it’s a symbol of hate put atop the Statehouse dome to protest the civil rights movement.