Sons of Confederate Veterans commander defends flying flag

Sons of the Confederacy Press Conference in Columbia

The commander of the South Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans stood in front of the Confederate flag flying at the Statehouse Thursday and defended its place there. “To remove this flag, to remove this monument, it would dishonor not only white Confederate soldiers but it would dishonor black Confederate soldiers,” Leland Summers told reporters.
Gov. Nikki Haley and a long list of other elected officials on Monday called on state lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse, after nine people were murdered during Bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last Wednesday. 21-year-old Dylann Roof is charged with the murders. Comments he reportedly made during the shooting and a manifesto he appears to have written online contained racist statements, and a photo of him with his car shows a “Confederate States of America” plate on the front.
“This wicked nutcase, which is a term we use here in the South, proclaimed that his mission was to start a race war,” Summers told reporters. “He is this very day getting what he wanted. We played right into his malicious hands. He has been given the race war that he desired.”
However, the families of the victims have said they forgive Roof, and the people of Charleston and the state have united after the shootings, with no violence. It’s unclear what “race war” Summers was referring to.
About the shootings, Summers said, “That flag had absolutely nothing to do with it.”
In front of the Statehouse, Tom Clements held a sign that said, “Honk to bring it down,” as one driver after another honked their horns.
“I have at least seven Confederate ancestors, including a great-great grandfather that was captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania and three of his brothers were killed. One great-grandfather fought in the Battle of Atlanta, so I have Confederate ancestry and I believe the flag should come down,” he said.
Summers said he and the SCV would make no other statements and would not talk to the media until Monday, June 29, out of respect for the victims and their families, since the first of the nine funerals was Thursday. He said the SCV will fight efforts to remove the flag, but would not say what those plans are.

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