Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley seemed to suggest on Friday that the Confederate flag did not have racist overtones until Dylann Roof “hijacked” it with his 2015 murder of nine black churchgoers.
Speaking to Blaze TV’s Glenn Beck, Haley recounted her decision as South Carolina governor to remove the Confederate battle flag from the State House following Roof’s massacre at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston.
“Here is this guy that comes out with this manifesto, holding the Confederate flag,” she said. “And had just hijacked everything that people thought of—we don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. It's a small minority; it’s always going to be there.”
“People saw it as service, and sacrifice, and heritage,” the ex-governor continued. “But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it. And the national media came in droves—they wanted to define what happened. They wanted it to make this about racism. They wanted to make it about gun control. They wanted to make it about the death penalty.”
Apparently, according to Haley, the media at the time wanted to make the mass slaying of nine black people—an admittedly targeted racist attack, as laid out in Roof’s manifesto—about race.
While Haley’s insistence that a flag long associated with slavery and sedition was actually just about “heritage” until only recently was immediately met with ridicule and mockery, her remarks to Beck are actually pretty much in line with how she equivocated on the issue when she removed the flag four years ago.
Claiming at the time that many South Carolinians held up the flag as “a way to honor ancestors,” she added that “while an integral part of our past” it “does not represent the future of our great state.”