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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: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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