CHARLESTON — South Carolina politicians are scrambling to broker a deal to remove a Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse with less than 48 hours to go before one of its black members—murdered by a racist—will lie in state there.
Governor Nikki Haley said at a Monday press conference she will call the state legislature into a special session this summer to move forward legislation to remove the flag from statehouse grounds.
Haley said first though that Dylann Roof has a "sick and twisted view of the flag" and that to many South Carolinians "it is a symbol of pride and heritage. To many other though, "it's deeply oppressive symbol of a brutally oppressive past." While private citizens may display the flag, "the statehouse is different and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this a different way."
"The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to remove it from the capital grounds," she said.
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, a Democrat, told The Daily Beast that members of both the House and Senate had been in talks since the shooting Wednesday night about the possibility of taking down the flag.
Rep. Doug Brannon, a Republican, said he had written a bill to take down the flag and had considered attaching it to an existing budget package as a proviso, a special one-year law that would allow the legislature to take the flag down quickly and then vote on a permanent ban when it returns to regular session in January.
“That flag is coming down, and it’s coming down quick,” an excited Brannon told The Daily Beast. Brannon laughed when he thought about facing the voters over taking down the flag.
“I told them I packed light and didn’t plan to stay long.”
— Bill Davis