Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has weighed in on the Confederate flag controversy, after days of debate online and a largely silent response from other candidates in the field. Bush called his position “clear," saying South Carolina should follow Florida’s example and put the flag in a museum.
“My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear,” Bust wrote on Facebook and shared on Twitter. “In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.” Bush urged that South Carolina’s leaders discuss how the state should “move forward,” expressing confidence legislators “will do the right thing.”
â€” Jeb Bush (@JebBush) June 20, 2015
Bush’s statement comes after former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Capitol building earlier Saturday. Speaking on Twitter, Romney said the flag was a “symbol of racial hatred.”
Though both Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and GOP Gov. Nikki Haley both spoke about South Carolina’s protected rights to fly the flag, the result of the 2000 South Carolina Heritage Act, other politicians, specifically other 2016 Republican presidential contenders, have remained silent on the controversy. While all have expressed condolences for the nine lives lost in the mass shooting at a historic African-American church at the hands of a racially motivated gunman, many still have not commented specifically on the flag controversy.
Also following Romney’s statement, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the Associated Press the last thing South Carolina needs is “people from outside the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it.” Though Cruz does recognize the flag as a symbol of “racial oppression,” he understands why some others “want to remember the sacrifices of their ancestors and the traditions of their states -- not the racial oppression, but the historical traditions.”
Here is Bush's full statement:
My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged. This is obviously a very sensitive time in South Carolina and our prayers are with the families, the AME church community and the entire state. Following a period of mourning, there will rightly be a discussion among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward and I'm confident they will do the right thing.