Charleston, SC (AP) – U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina thanked the senators who have reached out to him after the killings in Charleston last week. Emerging from the weekly Republican luncheon Tuesday, Scott also praised the family members of the nine victims who spoke of forgiveness during Friday’s court session with Dylann Storm Roof, […]
Charleston, SC (AP) – U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina thanked the senators who have reached out to him after the killings in Charleston last week.
Emerging from the weekly Republican luncheon Tuesday, Scott also praised the family members of the nine victims who spoke of forgiveness during Friday’s court session with Dylann Storm Roof, who faces murder charges in the massacre.
Scott said: “Perhaps if there is a moment for us to take a step back from the political process and recognize and appreciate true righteousness,” it is now when we see the families of the victims.
“I am thankful that I live in a country where forgiveness can be seen.”
Tim Scott is a Republican who appeared with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday when she announced that she believes it’s time for the Confederate flag flying on the Statehouse grounds to come down.
South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas says the killing of nine black church members in Charleston was a “terrorizing act of violence shook the very core of every South Carolinian.”
Lucas, a Republican, made the comments Tuesday just before legislators approved a measure that will allow them to debate the removal of the Confederate flag during their special session. The measure passed 103-10.
The flag currently flies in front of the Statehouse near a Confederate soldier’s monument. The legislators are expected to debate its removal when they come back to consider the governor’s budget vetoes, which will likely be in a couple of weeks.
Vandals have again defaced the statue of Jefferson Davis at the University of Texas as another push is underway to remove it from the Austin campus.
Campus security spokeswoman Cindy Posey says “Black lives matter” was scrawled early Tuesday on the base of the statue to the president of the Confederacy, and also on those for Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Johnston.
“Bump all the chumps” also was sprayed below the Davis statue.
This is at least the fourth time over the years that Davis’ statue has been defaced. The latest comes in the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In the wake of that attack, two monuments in the city were vandalized.
Meanwhile, in Texas, an online petition recently was launched to have the Davis statue removed from campus.
But Davis’ great-great grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, says his ancestor was a statesman with a broad list of accomplishments who’s being unfairly demonized.
The South Carolina House has approved a measure that allows them to consider removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.
The lawmakers are in a special session Tuesday to pass a state budget, but they took the extraordinary step to allow the flag debate after nine black church members were killed last week in Charleston.
Legislators will pass a state budget and when they return to consider Gov. Nikki Haley’s budget vetoes, they will take up the flag issue. That could be in a couple of weeks.
The House held a moment of silence for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, who was killed in the attack.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says the massacre in Charleston and other killings around the country demand action.
It’s highly unlikely, however, that Congress will move on gun control.
In a speech on the Senate floor, he said: “We can expand gun background checks and prevent the mentally ill and criminal from buying guns. Is that asking too much? … The people support it. It has bipartisan support. … We should act to save lives by expanding background checks.”
After the 2012 killing of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Senate failed to strengthen background checks.
Now, the odds of any congressional action on gun control are even longer with both the House and Senate dominated by Republicans, who traditionally have been less sympathetic to curbs on gun ownership. When the Senate rejected limits in 2013, the chamber was led by Democrats.
The only Republican to speak at Tuesday’s rally outside the South Carolina Statehouse to bring down the Confederate flag asked supporters to be respectful of all views.
Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort serves a district that adjoined slain Sen. Clementa Pinckney’s district at the southern end of South Carolina. They serve vastly different populations – Davis’ district is full of affluent retirees living near the beach, while the Democrat Pinckney’s district was poor and majority black, inland from the expensive homes and resorts.
Davis said they became friends. Pinckney reached out to Davis when he arrived at the Senate in 2009.
Davis recalled Pinckney saying: “It’s important for you to have a core set of beliefs. But it is also important for you to look through somebody else’s eyes, to stand in their shoes.”
Davis supports removing the Confederate flag, and said he thinks it will happen, but he asked the people who want to see the flag removed to heed Pinckney’s advice in the coming days.
Mississippi’s lieutenant governor says voters, not lawmakers, should decide whether to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.
Tuesday’s statement by Republican Tate Reeves came a day after Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn called the emblem offensive and said the state flag should change.
Mississippi voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin in 2001 to keep the flag that has been used since 1894, with the Confederate symbol in one corner.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said he supports those election results.
Debate about the flag rekindled after last week’s shooting deaths of black worshippers in a South Carolina church.
The Commercial Dispatch newspaper in Columbus, Mississippi, ran a front-page editorial Tuesday, saying the state flag should change and the Confederate symbol “represents a disgusting period of our history.”
Kentucky’s Republican nominee for governor says the state should remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Capitol rotunda.
Matt Bevin said Tuesday that he applauded South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for asking lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds after the shooting deaths of nine people at a black Charleston church last week.
Bevin says it would be equally appropriate for Kentucky to remove the statue of Davis, the only president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Democratic nominee Jack Conway says he also agrees with Haley’s remarks on the South Carolina flag but that he would have to think about whether he would support removing the statue.
A second historic monument in downtown Charleston has been vandalized as calls grow to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.
The words “racist” and “slavery” were spray-painted on a monument to John C. Calhoun, just a block from the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. That’s where nine black church members were killed in what police say was a racially motived attack by a white man.
Calhoun was a vice president, U.S. senator and congressman from South Carolina. He argued that slavery was not evil, but a positive good. He died in 1850, a decade before the Civil War.
Police said an officer found the vandalism while on patrol around Tuesday.
On Sunday, the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was spray-painted on a Confederate statue near the Charleston waterfront. In Baltimore, someone painted the words “Black Lives Matter” on a statue that was erected by the Maryland Daughters of the Confederacy in February 1903.
Galen Roth, the owner of Roth Restoration, said his company was hired by the city to clean both monuments.
He said: “It’s defacing public property. It’s breaking the law. I don’t think it does any good, and it costs the taxpayers money.
“They’re trying to keep an eye on this, but it’s impossible. They need surveillance cameras.”
Several hundred people are at a Confederate flag rally in front of the South Carolina Statehouse, urging legislators to remove the flag.
People chanted “bring it down, bring it down” as the rally got started. One of the people there was Tom Clements, who says he loved the flag when he studied about his family’s history as a teenager, but then he grew up.
Clements, born in Savannah, Georgia, had a poster of photos about his great-great grandfather who fought for the Confederacy and three great-great uncles who died for the South.
For years, he wouldn’t talk publicly about his ancestors even though he was quite proud of what they did.
“The racists took over the memories of the Confederacy,” said Clements, a long-time activist who opposes the use of nuclear power and fuel. “I didn’t feel right feeling like I was with them.”
Just about everyone arriving at a rally to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Capitol grounds took a picture of the banner flying atop a 30-foot pole.
Several dozen people had gathered about 30 minutes before the rally was to begin Tuesday. A few of them held sign supporting Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the flag and put it in a museum.
One of the most popular spots to take a picture was near the base of a Confederate soldier’s monument. There is no security directly beside the flag pole, but dozens of officers are posted nearby.
The small crowd was waiting for the rally to start under shaded trees because temperatures were expected to be in the 90s. Volunteers handed out water.
The interim leader at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is applauding calls to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Statehouse grounds.
However, the Rev. Norvel Goff says the historic church’s focus will stay on the “homegoing celebrations” of the nine people killed inside, including slain senior pastor Clementa Pinckney.
Dylann Storm Roof, who has appeared in photos holding Confederate flags, is charged with the murders.
Goff says it is time for the Confederate flag to come down “because of what it represented.” But the loss of Pinckney and the others is foremost for the church right now.
“Most certainly the flag is an issue, but there are other issues that need to be addressed in addition to that,” Goff says. “There is a time and place for everything.”
Virginia’s governor is moving to have the Confederate flag banished from state license plates.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the decision Tuesday, citing the killings at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said states can restrict license plate designs.
Virginia vanity plates include one that pays homage to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
McAuliffe said he’s asked Attorney General Mark Herring to take steps to reverse a 2002 federal court decision that said Virginia could not block the Confederate Veterans from displaying its logo – which includes the Confederate flag – on state license plates.
At the same time, McAuliffe has asked his secretary of transportation to replace the plates depicting the flag.
McAuliffe called the Confederate flag “hurtful” to too many people.
South Carolina’s second-highest ranking elected official is urging state lawmakers to open debate about the Confederate flag.
Republican Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster said on his official Facebook page Tuesday that “the time has come to consider an appropriate location for the Confederate flag.”
McMaster’s comments come a day after his fellow Republican, Gov. Nikki Haley, called on legislators to vote to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia.
McMaster chaired the state’s Republican Party in 2000 when a compromise was reached to move the flag from atop the Capitol dome to a Confederate monument. During his failed 2010 gubernatorial bid, the former U.S. attorney and state attorney general said he considered the issue resolved.