GOP-Led South Carolina Legislature Votes to Remove Confederate Flag From Capitol (Updated)

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GOP-Led South Carolina Legislature Votes to Remove Confederate Flag From Capitol (Updated)

Nina Liss-Schultz

The South Carolina House voted 94 to 20 Thursday morning to remove the confederate flag from the state capitol after 12 hours of debate and Republican attempts to stall the measure.

UPDATE, July 10, 12:08 p.m.: After Gov. Nikki Haley gave final approval, the confederate flag was removed from the state capitol during a ceremony Friday morning.

The South Carolina House voted 94 to 20 Thursday morning to remove the confederate flag from state capitol grounds after 12 hours of debate and Republican attempts to stall the measure.

One of the debate’s most impassioned moments came when state Rep. Jenny Anderson Horne (R-Charleston), a descent of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, took the dais to counter colleagues’ claims that the flag is an important symbol of Southern heritage.

“I’m sorry. I have heard enough about heritage. I have a heritage: I am a lifelong South Carolinian. I am a descendant of Jefferson Davis. OK? But that does not matter. It’s not about Jenny Horne,” she said. “It’s about the people of South Carolina who have demanded that this symbol of hate come off of the statehouse grounds.”

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Her voice swelling with emotion, Anderson Horne said that any attempt to keep the flag flying is insulting to Democratic state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine people killed last month by a white supremacist in Charleston while attending church.

“I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful—such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday—and if any of you vote to amend, you are ensuring that this flag will fly beyond Friday,” Anderson Horne. “And for the widow of Sen. Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury—and I will not be a part of it.”

GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, who a week ago called for the flag’s removal, is expected to sign the legislature’s bill Thursday afternoon.

Despite her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol, Haley has repeatedly rejected calls to accept more than $12 billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid access—a move that would have an outsized impact on South Carolina’s Black communities. Some South Carolina legislators, including U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R), have mentioned race as a reason for opposing Medicaid expansion in the state.

The Confederate flag will be removed on Friday at 10 a.m., according to local reports.

Watch the full video below: