Appearing today in South Carolina, Jeb Bush minced no words about the the Confederate flag, terming it “racist” and noting that he had pulled it down from the Florida state capitol grounds 14 years ago.
According to the Washington Post:
Bush, a former two-term Florida governor, explained that in 2001, “I decided to do something politically incorrect” and ordered the removal of a flag that included the Confederate symbol from the Florida State Capitol grounds.
“The symbols were racist,” he told workers at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant here. “If you’re trying to lean forward rather than live in the past, you want to eliminate the barriers that create disagreements.”
Bush was speaking to a racially diverse, mostly blue-collar crowd at the manufacturing plant, which produces medicine for patients suffering from asthma and COPD. He was asked about the Confederate flag by a black woman who identified herself as Valerie Hillary.
I have no love for the Confederate flag. And I recognize that most African Americans view it as racist, and in the hands of certain whites, that’s exactly what it is. I don’t think it should fly on government grounds. And while individuals have a right to display it, I think they shouldn’t, because it’s very hurtful to some people.
But I also recognize that there are many Southerners for whom the flag is a symbol of Southern pride, and not meant to harm or insult anyone. I do not agree with or think fair Bush’s implication that anyone who displays the Confederate flag is a racist. It’s a terrible thing to suggest about someone and should not be done so irresponsibly – and with an obvious eye toward protecting himself politically in the general election, should he get there.