Tags: SC Church Shooting | massachusetts | governor | apologizes | confederate | flag | south carolina

Mass. Gov. Backtracks on Defending SC's Right to Fly Confederate Flag

By    |   Friday, 19 Jun 2015 07:09 PM

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he's sorry for suggesting states like South Carolina ought to be able to display the Confederate flag at their capitols — an assertion that landed him in hot water the day after a racially-fueled mass shooting in Charleston, S.C.

In a telephone interview with the Boston Globe Thursday night, Baker said he'd "heard from some friends of mine," and their message was: "Basically, what were you thinking?"

"I take my job as governor of 100 percent of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts very seriously, and, as I said, I’m sorry I didn’t do a particularly good job representing that today," the Republican governor told the newspaper. "I just want to be clear — I abhor the symbolism and the history of the flag as much as anybody, and I am more than cognizant of the fact that literally millions of Americans died over what it represents in the Civil War."

As for the Confederate flag that flies in the South Carolina capitol of Columbia, Baker declared: "I think they should take the flag down."

"The symbolism of this one is important, and I should have done a better job of appreciating that," he told the Boston Globe.

Baker had initially defended South Carolina's right to fly the Confederate flag in its state capitol in Columbia during an earlier interview with WGBH radio host Jim Braude, the newspaper notes. But critics view the "Stars and Bars" as an emblem of racism and reminder of slavery and Jim Crow practices, even as defenders call it a symbol of Southern heritage, the Boston Globe notes.

"As a citizen of this country and what’s happened, particularly to African-Americans in that state, what’s your reaction to that, in 2015?" Braude asked Baker about the Confederate flag flying in Columbia.

"I like local government more than I like — the farther government gets away from the people, the more nervous I get about the way it behaves, and my view on stuff like this is that South Carolinians can make their own call. I do believe that the reason that flag still hangs there is, you know, what I would call sort of 'tradition' or something like that," he replied, the Boston Globe reports. "And there’s certainly a heated debate that’s gone on over the years down there about that."

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he's sorry for suggesting states like South Carolina ought to be able to display the Confederate flag at their capitols — an assertion that landed him in hot water the day after a racially-fueled mass shooting in Charleston, S.C.
massachusetts, governor, apologizes, confederate, flag, south carolina, shooting, race
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2015-09-19
Friday, 19 Jun 2015 07:09 PM
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