South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the Confederate flag has become a “roadblock to the future of my state” and needs to come down from outside the Statehouse in Columbia.
Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Republican presidential candidate said the grace displayed by people who lost loved ones this month in a Charleston church shooting fueled by racial hatred makes it “impossible for a guy like me” to support the flag, which is seen by some as a symbol of Southern heritage and by others as a symbol of slavery on par with the swastika.
Mr. Graham, however, defended the compromise that had moved the flag from atop the Statehouse to a Confederate war memorial near it, saying it had worked for 15 years before recent events made it no longer defensible.
“I’m not going to put my state under the bus,” he said.
The shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston on June 17 sparked a backlash against the Confederate flag and forced politicians to come out as for or against its display.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for its removal from Statehouse grounds, and big-name stores have removed products with the emblem from their shelves.