Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined the group of GOP presidential hopefuls speaking out against the Confederate flag on Tuesday, when he said that it is ultimately “a symbol of human bondage and slavery,” that should be placed in a museum.
In an interview with Jeffrey Kuhner, the host of the talk radio show The Kuhner Report, who calls himself “Liberalism’s Worst Nightmare,” Paul said that he agrees with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who recently changed her position and announced that she thinks the Confederate flag should be removed from state capitol grounds.
[quote_center]“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 hatred so vicious that you would kill somebody,” Paul said. “I think that symbolism needs to end, and I think South Carolina’s doing the right thing.”[/quote_center]
Referencing 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who has been charged with nine counts of murder after he confessed to opening fire during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday, Paul said that the flag has now become “a symbol of murder.”
[quote_center]“There have been people who have used it for southern pride and heritage and all of that 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,” Paul said.[/quote_center]
The New York Times reported that a website registered under Roof’s name in February, published a “racist manifesto,” along with pictures of Roof burning the American flag and waving the Confederate flag. While Roof’s direct involvement has not been confirmed, the manifesto’s author claimed that he had no choice, and that he felt he had to do something more than just talking on the Internet:
“I chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
The manifesto’s author wrote that he learned of the violent “black-on-white murders” from the website for the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group.
The Guardian revealed that Earl Holt III, the president of the group, has contributed to the 2016 presidential campaigns of GOP candidates such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul.
Doug Stafford, a spokesman and strategist for Paul’s campaign, told Bloomberg that Paul will be “donating the funds to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to assist the victims’ families.”
Other GOP presidential candidates speaking out in support of Haley’s charge to remove the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who said South Carolina should do the same thing Florida did when it moved the flag “from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who initially supported keeping the Confederate flag, because as he told CNN, “it works here,” changed his position on Monday, and pledged his support to Haley.
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