In the aftermath of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, controversy over the state’s practice of flying the Confederate flag over capitol grounds has spurred calls for its removal. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters gathered in Charleston and the state’s capitol in Columbia.
Many shouted “Take it down! Take it down!” the Washington Post reported.
Many decried the flag's history and symbolism as racist.
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Republican presidential candidates have also been drawn into the issue. Mike Huckabee, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” complained that the use of Confederate flag is not a presidential issue, and that the matter should be left up to the state to decide.
Likewise, Rick Santorum, who attended a memorial service on Sunday at the Charleston church where the shooting took place, said “I don't think the federal government or federal candidates should be making decisions on everything and opining on everything. This is a decision that needs to be made here in South Carolina.”
But on Twitter, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have already stated they are against the flying of the flag at the capitol building. Romney tweeted, “Take down the #ConfederateFlag at the SC Capitol. To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims.”
And Bush, speaking as a former Florida governor, tweeted, “In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”
Currently, the flying of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol is mandated by state law.