The former Republican presidential nominee said Saturday that the confederate flag flying over Charleston, South Carolina, should be removed. The confederate flag is currently raised on a flagpole outside the state capitol building in Charleston.
The confederate flag has long been seen by many has a symbol of racism. People also see the flag as a pro-slavery statement as well. Those who fly the flag often see it merely as a way to express their southern pride.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 20, 2015
As the New York Times notes, Romney has been advocating doing away with the controversial flag for some time. Mitt first made his stance on the confederate flag apparent in 2008 when he first ran for president.
Mitt Romney’s words have put some pressure on other Republicans — particularly 2016 presidential hopefuls — to address the issue. Jeb Bush, who’s running for president, ordered the removal of the confederate flag from the capitol building in Tallahassee during his time as Governor of Florida.
Other Republicans have shown more sympathy toward flying the confederate flag. Ted Cruz, the Republican Senator from Texas who’s also running for president, said South Carolina should be able to fly the flag. He also said that he understands both sides of the debate.
“I also understand those who want to remember the sacrifices of their ancestors and the traditions of their states, not the racial oppression, but the historical traditions and I think often this issue is used as a wedge to try to divide people.”
As reported by Huffington Post, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, another Republican candidate for president, also voiced her support for South Carolina’s right to fly what flag they choose to.
“I think it’s clearly a symbol that is very offensive to many, but my personal opinion is not what’s relevant here.”
The pressure on South Carolina to remove their confederate flag comes after the recent racially-motivated attack on a black church in Charleston. A gunman entered the church and killed nine people, including the pastor who was also a former state senator.
Pictures of the gunman — identified as Dylann Roof — along with a manifesto found online, show that he was obsessed with racist ideologies. One picture shows the gunman wearing patches of the flags of Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia both nations that white supremacists identify with.
[Photo by Davis Turner / Getty Images]