The Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol should be removed, the state's Republican governor said Monday.
Calls for the Confederate flag to be taken down from near South Carolina's state capitol have intensified following last Wednesday's mass shooting at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nine people were gunned down during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by admitted shooter Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year-old white male. Pictures have surfaced of Roof posing with the Confederate flag and in front of a car with a license plate featuring the controversial banner.
"It's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds," South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said at a Monday press conference with South Carolina's Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott as well as other elected officials.
"By removing a symbol that divides us," Haley said, "we can move forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are in heaven."
Haley has shifted her position on the flag issue. She has previously dismissed calls in support of taking the Confederate flag down from the capitol grounds.
On Thursday, the South Carolina and American flags were lowered to half-staff, with the banners set to remain in that position for nine days -- one day for each victim of the shooting. The Confederate flag, however, remains at full-staff. The South Carolina legislature currently has control over the handling of the Confederate flag, not the governor.
In order to take down the Confederate flag from near the state capitol, both chambers of the South Carolina legislature would have to approve a measure to allow such a move by a two-thirds vote.
According to MSNBC, the South Carolina legislature could take a vote Tuesday to decide whether a special session will be held to consider the flag measure.