Nikki Haley says the Confederate flag represented 'service' and 'sacrifice' until racist shooter Dylann Roof 'hijacked' it

Nikki Haley

Screenshot via Blaze TV

Nikki Haley

  • In an interview with Blaze TV's Glenn Beck, former US Ambassador to the UN and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said white supremacist gunman Dylann Roof "hijacked" the meaning of the Confederate flag.
  • On June 17, 2015 Roof opened fire in a Wednesday night Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people and injuring three others.
  • Haley said that Roof, who published a racist manifesto invoking the Confederate flag, "hijacked everything that people thought of" about the flag's meaning, saying, "people saw it as service, and sacrifice, and heritage."
  • Since the 19th century, the confederate flag has represented the confederacy's fight in the United States' Civil War to preserve the institution of slavery of African-Americans.
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In an interview with Blaze TV's Glenn Beck, former US Ambassador to the UN and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said white supremacist gunman Dylann Roof "hijacked" the meaning of the Confederate flag and made it about hate rather than heritage and sacrifice.

On June 17, 2015 Roof opened fire during a Wednesday night Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people and injuring three others. Authorities found that Roof also wrote a white supremacist manifesto heavily invoking the Confederate flag and other Confederate symbols. 
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Roof was convicted and sentenced to death over the shooting, which was prosecuted as a hate crime, in January of 2017. 

In the days after the shooting, Haley was applauded across the country and around the world for her decision to lead a push to officially remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina's state capitol. 

But in the interview, a clip of which was first posted to Twitter by Media Matters for America's Jason Campbell, Haley offered a different interpretation of how she believes South Carolinians perceived the confederate flag before the shooting.
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"South Carolina fell her to her knees when this happened, this is one of the oldest African-American churches. And these twelve people were amazing people, they loved their church, loved their families, loved their communities," Haley said of the victims and survivors of the shooting. "And here is this guy who comes out with his manifesto and his confederate flag who had just hijacked everything that people thought of," Haley added. "And we don't have hateful people in South Carolina. There's a small minority that's going to be there, but people saw it as service, and sacrifice, and heritage. But once he did that there was no way to overcome it."
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While Haley seemed to be characterizing what she saw as the views of South Carolinians and not necessarily her own personal beliefs, her description of what the flag stood in the eyes of her constituents for sparked anger and disbelief across the Internet. The notion that the Confederate flag represents "service" and "sacrifice" stands starkly at odds with what the Confederate Army fought for in the first place, which was the ability for Southern states to continue owning African-Americans as slaves. 

Haley, who served as US Ambassador to the United Nations until last fall, recently published a memoir detailing her time in the Trump administration.

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