South Carolina's Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and the state's two Republican senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, along with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, gathered at a press conference to announce their desire to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
Momentum has been building against the Confederate flag since nine African Americans were killed, allegedly by Dylann Roof, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., last Wednesday.
"It is time to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds," said Haley. "The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the Capitol grounds.
"On matters of race, South Carolina has a tough history. We all know that," Haley added. "We have made progress on racial issues. … I ask that the focus still remain on the nine victims of this horrible tragedy."
In a statement after Haley's press conference, Priebus stated, "This flag has become too divisive and too hurtful for too many of our fellow Americans. While some say it represents different things to different people, there is no denying that it also represents serious divisions that must be mended in our society."
In a press conference earlier in the day, Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley also joined others in speaking out against having the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds. "The time has come," Riley said, adding that the flag should be moved to a museum.
"The Confederate battle flag years and years ago was appropriated as a symbol of hate … and in defiance against civil and equal rights. It has been used as a symbol of hate and used by the Ku Klux Klan. It sends the wrong message. The grounds of the state Capitol belong to every citizen of South Carolina," Riley added.