Despite Donald Trump’s lock on the Republican nomination, it’s been clear from the start that a lot of the party’s leadership hasn’t agreed with him on a number of issues. That doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon if South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s recent speech is anything to go by. Last Thursday, the Republican governor gave a speech where she criticized Trump for his divisive rhetoric.
She said Trump has a responsibility to use a respectful, civil tone. Haley, who endorsed Trump’s rival Marco Rubio, made it clear that while she disagrees with Trump’s tone, she does not think his supporters are racist.
‘That’s a different kind of anger. They’re upset with Washington, D.C. They’re upset nothing’s got done. The way he communicates that, I wish were different’
Haley made her remarks in the context of last year’s mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston where 22-year-old Dylan Roof killed nine people, all of whom were African American.
According to the police, the 22-year-old shooter wanted to start a race war. Pictures of Roof taken prior to the attacks showed him holding Confederate flags. This prompted a heated debate regarding the prominence of the Confederate flag’s place above state buildings.
A few weeks after the shooting, Haley urged the state legislature to remove the flag from the statehouse lawn and send it to a museum. The legislature agreed to do so, but the Confederate flag in the Citadel’s chapel remains in the academy. Haley says she knows that her decision angered a lot of people who support the Confederate flag, but felt she had no other choice.
‘I don’t think they’re bad people. I think they really were focused on heritage and sacrifice, but I think when that murderer kidnapped their flag and held it with hate and killed those people, there was just no other option.’
Haley wanted to remove the Confederate flag flying in the Citadel, but said that it was up to the legislature. Thanks to the state’s Heritage Act, it takes a large majority to alter public monuments in any way. The law was passed in 2000 as part of a compromise that removed the Confederate flag from the statehouse dome and put it on the lawn. The state’s Speaker of the House, Jay Lucas, said that, as long as he remained Speaker, the House would not vote on any proposed changes to the law. For her part, Haley said she did not support altering the 2000 law.
‘The state would’ve been torn apart if we’d started doing that. We’d have disputes in every county and community and divide people. … Our goal was to hold everything together. Let’s be kind and accepting and understand history is just that — it’s history’
She went on to say that she doesn’t believe in renaming state buildings or monuments.
We can’t go and start changing everything. … The difference with the flag was it was a flying, living, breathing representative symbol. I don’t see that in buildings and street signs.’
Featured image via Getty.