Rand Paul: Confederate flag ‘a symbol of human bondage and slavery’
© Francis Rivera

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday called the Confederate flag a “symbol of human bondage and slavery” and lauded South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) for pushing its removal from her state Capitol grounds.

“I agree [with Haley],” Paul, a 2016 contender, said on WKRO radio’s "The Kuhner Report" in an interview flagged by Buzzfeed.

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“I think the flag is inescapably a symbol of human bondage and slavery, and particularly when people use it obviously for murder and to justify hate so vicious that you would kill somebody, I think that that symbolism needs to end and I think South Carolina is doing the right thing,” he said.

The Confederate flag has reemerged as a political issue in the wake of the racially motivated slayings of nine African-Americans at a black church in South Carolina. The issue has been a test for the GOP’s presidential hopefuls in a state with a critical early primary.

The Hill emailed the Paul campaign on Monday seeking his position on the issue, but a spokesperson said he had no comment at the time.

Many of the Republican presidential hopefuls initially declined to take a position on whether the flag should be removed or argued that the decision should be left to legislators in South Carolina.

But now that Haley has taken the lead to rid the South Carolina state Capitol of the flag, Republican presidential hopefuls are emerging to support her move.

“Obviously it’s a decision for South Carolina to make, but if I was in South Carolina, that’s what I would recommend to anyone who asked me my opinion,” Paul said Tuesday.

“There have been people who have used it for Southern pride and heritage and all of that,” he continued. “But really to — I think to every African-American in the country — it’s a symbolism of slavery to them and now it’s a symbol of murder for this young man and so I think it’s time to put it in a museum.”

Dylann Storm Roof, the 21-year old man charged with the slayings, had posed for numerous photos displaying the Confederate flag.