COLUMBIA — U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) released the following statement after calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds:
“Character is often revealed during our darkest days, and the world has learned much about South Carolina’s character since last week’s tragedy.
“The way our communities and state have come together, the way we have seen love overpower hate, kindness soothe our pain, and good will defeat hostility, is absolutely incredible.
“After the terrible tragedy at Mother Emanuel in Charleston last week, fueled by hate and racism, our hearts were broken. While the Confederate battle flag did not cause this violent act, it is clear that our state and the people of South Carolina have reopened the debate on the flag.
“There is no doubt that South Carolina has a rich and complex history, and the Confederate battle flag is a part of that. The flag means many things to many people.
“I do not believe the vast majority of folks who support the flag have hate in their hearts. Their heritage is a part of our state’s history, and we should not ignore that.
“However, for so many others in our state, the flag represents pain and oppression.
“Because of that, as a life-long South Carolinian, as someone who loves this state and will never call anywhere else home, I believe it is time for the flag to come down.
“I hope the South Carolina General Assembly will move to this topic swiftly, so that our state can continue to move forward. Following last week’s tragedy, South Carolina has been united as never before, and because of that love and hope, I have never been more proud to be from here.
“We continue to pray for the families of State Senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson and all of the members of Emanuel AME. Their strength, their dignity through these terrible times has been amazing. God bless them, and God bless the people of South Carolina.”