After calling the Confederate flag a “nonissue” back in 2014, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has now changed her tune. Flanked by Senator Tim Scott and Representative James Clyburn, Haley called for the removal of the flag from the capitol grounds.

“This has been a very difficult time for our state. We have stared evil in the eye,” she said, speaking of the massacre at Emanuel AME church. “True hate can never triumph over true love.”

During the press conference, the governor discussed the state’s troubled history on race and told the crowd South Carolinians don’t “need reminders” of the state’s horrific past.

Although she said “the flag will always be a part of the soil” of the state, Gov. Haley made it clear it “does not represent the future of the state of South Carolina.”

Gov. Haley’s about face came as a result of tremendous pressure from both inside and outside of South Carolina. Over the weekend the hashtags #TakeItDown and #TakeDowntheFlag garnered nearly 90,000 tweets with citizens from coast to coast calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s capitol grounds.

When asked what he thought about South Carolina continuing to fly the flag in the wake of the Charleston shootings, President Obama echoed his 2007 stance, saying it should be retired to a museum, not fly at the statehouse.

In her press conference, Gov. Haley urged South Carolina lawmakers to pass a bill to remove the flag from the capitol grounds, but indicated that if they don’t act before the end of the session, she’ll call a special session to ensure they do.

However, she may not have to go to such lengths. On Friday, South Carolina House of Representatives member Doug Brannon said he’ll introduce a bill to remove the flag from government property.

“I had a friend die for no reason at all except he was a Black man,” Rep. Brannon said. “Senator [Clementa Pinckney] was an incredible human being. I don’t want to talk politics, but I’m going to introduce the bill for that reason.”

Despite the governor’s new stance, support for the flag remains strong in South Carolina’s white population. A 2014 Winthrop University poll found 72percent of white and 27 of Black South Carolinians believe the flag should stay put.

If the previous fight to remove the flag is any indication of what’s to come, South Carolina’s lawmakers are in for a tough fight.

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  • [email protected]

    That Confederate flag should be removed from Capitol grounds in South Carolina. I know that we have a long way to go, but we have to do this. There has been many innocent people who have died at the hands of racists. That disgraceful Confederate flag should be condemned.

  • Mary Burrell

    I just got through reading about that Tim Scott “coon” Clayton Bigsby for real

  • binks

    It is sad that it took the massacre of the Emanuel AME Church of nine amazing people losing their lives to recognize this flag and other Confederacy relics as a problem when it was always seen as problematic. This flag should have been removed and people need to actually know the history behind this flag.

  • Objection

    Should the Confederate flag be taken down? Well, what does the flag represent? Answer: It represent the Confederate Government. What does the Confederate Government stand for? Well, all a person as to do is read the Constitution of the Confederate Government. Article IV says:

    In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

    Please keep in mind the Constitution for the Confederate Government had no bill of rights. Any person who supports the Confederate flag is a racist plain and simple.

  • Eduardo

    “Flanked by Senator Tim Scott and Representative James Clyburn, Haley called for the removal of the flag from the capitol grounds.”

    A much bigger deal is that Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the RNC, was there supporting Gov. Haley. This would’ve been unthinkable just a few decades ago, and illustrates how worried Republicans are about their 2016 prospects. Pollster after pollster is telling Republicans the same thing: “In this day and age, social issues will SINK your party. You have to throw the nutters under the bus and try to move to the center, or face political extinction.” Republicans can no longer win elections just by concentrating on the White vote (just ask Mitt Romney). 2008 and 2012 were the most entertaining elections I’ve lived through. Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have provided comedy gold these past few years. The 2016 election has the potential to be fascinating in terms of how the GOP deals, among other things, with their demographic time bomb.