Governor says it's time Confederate flag comes down at S. C. dome
CHARLESTON - Southern Carolina Governor Nikki Haley reversed her position on the flying of the Confederate flag at the state's capitol Monday, saying it should be taken down.
The Republican governor's about-face comes after nine black churchgoers were shot and killed in Charleston. Authorities said a young white man who embraced the flag as a symbol of white supremacy was responsible for the shooting.
Haley joins fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a presidential contender who also called for the flag to be removed from the top of the state capitol dome where it has flown for 15 years. President Barak Obama also repeated his calls for the flag to come down and be put into a museum after the Charleston shooting.
A group of Charleston-area political and religious leaders are calling on state lawmakers to vote this week to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina's capital grounds. Officials including Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. and Democratic state Sen. Marlon Kimpson in North Charleston on Monday called on legislators to stay in session and vote as early as Tuesday to take down the flag from its place in front of the statehouse in Columbia.
The Rev. Nelson B Rivers III of the National Action Network said the flag should be removed before the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney lies in state at the Statehouse on Wednesday. Pinckney and eight other church members were shot to death last week as they attended Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.
Kimpson says he's informed state Senate leaders that there is a "growing chorus" of members interested in taking up a debate while lawmakers are in session to discuss the budget.