Nikki Haley has come under fire for declaring the confederate flag above the South Carolina statehouse a non-issue because no CEO has mentioned it. Haley, the incumbent Republican governor of South Carolina, said the line in a debate with gubernatorial candidate Democrat Vincent Sheheen.
The South Carolina flag controversy has existed for sometime. The confederate flag was originally placed on the main dome of the statehouse until a heated debate after the 2000 presidential race created a compromise. A monument was created for the soldiers who died for the South in the civil war, and the flag was moved to the top of that monument, where it still flies today.
The confederate flag remains an issue for Nikki Haley’s opponent Sheheen, who has called for the flag to be taken down all together.
Saying in the Tuesday debate, “I think the people of South Carolina are tired of having an image across America that’s not truly who we are. We should rally together under a flag that unites us all, the American flag, that looks toward the future, and not the past.”
When the subject came up in a debate between Haley and Sheheen, the governor deflected the issue by discussing the work she’s done to bring jobs to the state.
“What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state. I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”
Governor Haley said that the state suffered a racial image problem in the past, but insisted that her own governorship and the election of Tim Scott, an African American, fixed all that.
“But we really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor. When we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message.”
Despite Nikki Haley’s career as the first Indian American female governor, the state still suffers from a wealth gap between white and black. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 36 percent of African Americans live below the poverty rate, about twice as high as for white residents of South Carolina.
Still, even if Haley’s comments on the flag don’t sit well with voters, she will most likely roll into another term. According to Real Clear Politics, Nikki Haley leads Sheheen by double digits in every major poll.
[Image Credit: Jorge Intriago/Wikimedia Commons]