Wicker Renews Call to Remove Confederate Emblem From Mississippi Flag
GOP senator condemns use of state flag as a ‘symbol of white supremacy’
In the wake of racial violence over the weekend in Virginia, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi renewed his call Monday to remove the Confederate battle emblem from his state’s flag.
The Republican senator advocated the change in light of the fact that an altered version of the Mississippi flag was displayed Saturday during the neo-Nazi rally in the central Virginia city of Charlottesville, The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported.
Speaking at the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Wicker said he did not like using tragedy to advance policy, but said it would be best to remove the emblem from the state flag.
“Certainly they have no right to be using our state flag as a symbol of white supremacy,” he said. “It would be more unifying if we put this Mississippi flag in a museum and replaced it with something that was more unifying. That is still my position.”
Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper said the person who allegedly used a car to run over counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday should be tried for murder but deferred to state leaders on whether the Mississippi flag should be changed.
“We have a great governor, a great lieutenant governor and a great speaker of the House in Mississippi, and I trust them to make the right decisions for what we need to do and when we need to do it for Mississippi,” the congressman said.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said his position on the flag had not changed.
“Whatever the state flag is or is not should be decided by Mississippi voters,” he said.
But Bryant also said that “those who practice the extremist ideals of neo-Nazism or white supremacy have no place in Mississippi. I condemn these groups in the strongest possible terms.”
Mississippi’s senior senator, Thad Cohran, said he personally hoped the state would consider changing the flag.
“[We] should look for unity and not divisiveness in the symbols of our state,” the longtime Republican senator said in a statement.
Mississippi voters defeated a 2001 referendum to change the flag by a vote of 64 percent to 36 percent.