Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s political capital has surged following her decisive and emphatic response to calls to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol following the massacre of nine black church members by a self-avowed white supremacist, according to The Hill.
Haley’s name is circulating as a potential vice presidential nominee, the website reports, noting that the 43-year-old has "saved her party from divisive bickering and damaging headlines that could have lingered for months."
On Monday, Haley —
flanked by U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott and U.S. Reps. James Clyburn and Mark Sanford —
convened a news conference during which she called for the flag’s removal.
"Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state without ill will to say it is time to remove the flag from our capitol grounds," said Haley, according to CNN.
"This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state," she said.
The Hill noted the "political agility" of the governor’s remarks, particularly her point that "private citizens would retain the right to fly the flag if they wished." She characterized accused shooter Dylann Roof’s view of the flag as "sick and twisted."
Roof’s social media postings included a 2,500-word hate-filled manifesto and numerous images of the Confederate flag.
Haley recognized that the flag represents Southern heritage and pride to some but added that "for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past."
born Nimrata Randhawa —
is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was married in both a Methodist church ceremony and a Sikh gurdwara, according to Salon.com. The nickname Nikki means "small one," according to Salon.com.
She is the nation's second Indian-American governor. Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal is the first.
GOP consultant and Clemson University professor David Woodard called Haley’s handling of the flag flap her "finest hour as governor," while even her detractors have given Haley props.
South Carolina political blogger Willie Folks, who claimed in 2010 that he had an affair with Haley, said she has "done a good job of being a uniter" on the flag issue.
"And I say that as someone who has been critical of the governor on a wide range of issues. I don’t think she’s done a good job as governor."
On Tuesday, the South Carolina Legislature voted to consider a bill to remove the Confederate flag from its Statehouse grounds, The New York Times reported.
All but one state senator voted in favor of taking up the issue, while the tally in the State House was 103-10.
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