Reports: Graham to call for removal of Confederate flag – USA TODAY
Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator who has defended the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of his state’s capitol building, called for its removal on Monday.
Graham joined South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at a 4 p.m. news conference where Haley announced a proposal to remove the Confederate flag from State House grounds and put it in a museum.
In a statement after the press conference, Graham said, “In the worst of tragedies, we have seen the best of South Carolina. Today, I am urging that the Confederate Battle Flag be removed from statehouse grounds to an appropriate location.”
He added: “I hope that, by removing the flag, we can take another step towards healing and recognition – and a sign that South Carolina is moving forward.”
The plan comes less than a week after a white supremacist gunned down nine worshipers at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C.
Graham is considered a long-shot in the GOP presidential race, but his home state of South Carolina is holding one of the early primaries.
Other Republican candidates — including Jeb Bush and John Kasich — have suggested that South Carolina remove the flag, but that local residents should make the decision.
In recent days, Graham has more or less defended the Confederate flag, saying it is part of the state’s heritage and had nothing to do with the killer’s actions.
“It’s him,” Graham told CNN recently. “Not the flag”