Gov. Nikki Haley in TODAY Interview: Charleston Church Victims Are 'Looking Down'

Image: Nikki Haley,  Dick Riley, Jim Hodges, Gilda Cobb Hunter, David Beasley
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signs a bill into law as former South Carolina governors and officials look on Thursday, July 9, 2015, at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. The law enables the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds more than 50 years after the rebel banner was raised to protest the civil rights movement. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)John Bazemore / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Erik Ortiz

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who authorized the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds, said she will be thinking about the victims of the Charleston church massacre when the rebel banner comes down Friday.

"I think we can all say that, hopefully, the Emanuel Nine are looking down and feeling proud today," Haley said in an exclusive interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer.

Watch the full interview at TODAY.com

The flag was thrust into the national spotlight after nine black parishioners were fatally shot at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The confessed shooter, a 21-year-old white man named Dylann Roof, had posed with the Confederate flag in photos.

Read the full story at TODAY.com

South Carolina lawmakers this week voted to remove the flag from Capitol grounds in Columbia, and Haley on Thursday signed the measure into law. The flag will be placed on display at the Confederate Relic Room.

"There’s a place for that flag, and the flag needs to be in a museum where people can continue to honor it appropriately," Haley said.