A South Carolina lawmaker says the governor should take the Confederate flag down for “repairs” while a black senator slain in the Charleston church attack lies in state at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Gov. Nikki Haley’s press secretary said she had no such authority.
State Rep. Todd Rutherford, a Democrat and the House minority leader, made the suggestion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I hope that the governor would look up at the flag, as I did yesterday, and notice that it looks a little wind-torn,” he said.
He said South Carolina law gives Haley the power to take the flag down for repairs, “and those repairs may take the four hours that his body’s at least going to lay in the rotunda.”
State Sen. Clementa Pinckney was one of the nine black people shot to death by Dylann Roof, a white man, at a black church in Charleston last week. Pinckney’s body was to lie in state beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
The Confederate battle flag flies at a monument on the grounds of the State House. Removing the flag permanently takes an act of the Legislature. Lawmakers took a step on Tuesday toward pulling it down, but it could take weeks.
Chaney Adams, the governor’s press secretary, told NBC News by email: “Based on the 2000 law, she does not have the authority to remove the flag herself, today or any day, and rather than violate that law, she will continue to work to change it.”
Haley said on Monday that the flag should be taken down permanently.