FEATURED:

Obama thinks Confederate flag 'belongs in a museum'

Obama thinks Confederate flag 'belongs in a museum'
© Getty Images

President Obama believes the Confederate flag “belongs in a museum,” the White House said Friday amid calls for it to be taken down, following a mass shooting in South Carolina. 

“The president has said before he believes the Confederate flag belongs in a museum, and that is still his position,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One. 

ADVERTISEMENT

A mass shooting at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., has renewed the debate over whether the Confederate battle flag should continue to fly in the state.

The suspected shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, reportedly drove a car with Confederate flag license plates. 

And while the U.S. and South Carolina flags were lowered to half-staff following the shooting, the Confederate flag that flies near the state capitol flew at full height, a move that drew criticism. 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s office said Thursday she could not lower the flag without approval from the state legislature. The GOP governor has dismissed calls to remove it in the past.  

Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordOvernight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Haley shocks Washington with resignation | Turkish officials reportedly conclude Saudis killed journalist | Trump eyes second Kim summit after midterms GOP on timing of Haley’s announcement: 'Unusual' and 'odd' On The Money: House passes 4B spending bill to avert shutdown | Trump 'not happy' after Fed's latest rate hike | Trump says he refused meeting with Trudeau MORE (R-S.C.), the Palmetto State’s former governor, said talking about removing the flag is like “opening Pandora’s Box.” 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia Trump should stick to his guns and close failed South Carolina nuclear MOX project CNN's Smerconish: What do Saudis have over American presidents? MORE (R), a 2016 presidential candidate, called the Confederate banner “part of who we are” as South Carolinians. 

NAACP President Cornell Brooks said Friday the flag must come down. He criticized those who say it’s simply a symbol of the state’s history, calling it an “emblem of hate.” 

“When we see that symbol lifted up as an emblem of hate, as a tool of hate, as an inspiration for hate, as an inspiration for violence, that symbol has to come down,” he said Friday in Charleston.

Obama first called for the Confederate flag to be retired to a museum in 2007 during his campaign for president, months before the South Carolina primary.