Haley: Dylann Roof 'hijacked' Confederate flag from people who saw it as symbolizing 'service, and sacrifice and heritage'

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley spoke with CNN's Don Lemon regarding the removal of the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.

Posted: Dec 7, 2019 6:40 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2019 6:40 AM

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in an interview released this week that the man who killed black parishoners at a church in her state "hijacked" the meaning of the Confederate battle flag for people who felt it meant "sacrifice and heritage."

Haley, in an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck, revisited the conversation around her decision in 2015 to remove the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse after the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Haley was widely praised for removing the flag.

Haley, who also served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, was asked about the flag by Beck, who noted that "South Carolinians supported (her) movement to take the flag off of the flagpoles and lower that and get it out."

"How do you do that?" he asks the former governor in the interview, which was released Thursday.

"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," Haley replied, referring to nine people who Dylann Roof killed in June 2015. "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)."

"But you know people saw it as service, and sacrifice and heritage -- but once he did that, there was no way to overcome it."

The Confederate battle flag has a long history of representing racist causes. Haley faced some opposition for her decision from people who argued the flag instead meant Southern pride.

Haley's new comments come four years after she ordered the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds, saying at the time that "the more important part is it should have never been there" and that "people were driving by (the statehouse) and felt hurt and pain. No one should feel pain." Roof, who was sentenced to death in 2017 for the murders, was repeatedly photographed with the Confederate Flag.

The former governor had previously been a supporter of the flag -- which was placed at the statehouse in 2000 -- as a symbol of Southern heritage honoring residents' ancestors. But after the funerals of the nine victims of the massacre, she said she decided that the flag had to come down.

Haley, a Republican, also said in 2015 that the flag should be in a museum, a place that preserves history, not in a place where people gather to implement policies about the state's future.

"There is a place for that flag," she told CNN's Don Lemon. "It's not in a place that represents all people in South Carolina."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
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Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
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Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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