South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn (D) said on Sunday that what most people consider the Confederate flag is a former battle emblem that inspires hatred.
"That is a flag of rebellion," he told host Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"We would not be having this discussion if that were the flag of the Confederate States of America because that flag is not a symbol of hate," he added.
Debate over the use of the Confederate flag at state capitol buildings reignited last week following a mass shooting at a predominantly African American church in Charleston, S.C.
Dylann Storm Roof, the alleged shooter, reportedly has the emblem printed on his car’s license plate.
Clyburn argued on Sunday that the history of the Confederate flag makes it a possible inspiration for future violence.
“People get emboldened by all this,” he said. “You’re certainly creating a climate to allow this kind of thing to happen.”
Roof allegedly opened fire on congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. on Wednesday evening.
South Carolina lawmakers have since started arguing over whether or not they should continue flying the Confederate flag at their state’s capitol building in Columbia.
Palmetto State law dictates that a majority of its legislature must vote on raising or lowering the controversial symbol.
Clyburn said on Sunday that his state’s lawmakers could easily change that rule and remove the flag.
“It just takes a simple majority to get rid of that law,” he said of the rule concerning the Confederate flag’s handling.
Roof allegedly uttered racial epithets before attacking his victims on Wednesday night.
He was arrested on Thursday morning following a 14-hour manhunt for his whereabouts.
Nine people died in the mass shooting last week at Emanuel AME Church.
--This report was updated at 12:51 p.m.