Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is facing backlash after appearing on a conservative talk-radio show on Friday and remixing the symbolism of the Confederate flag.

Based on comments made to Glen Beck, Haley believes that the flag stood for “service, sacrifice and heritage” until mass murderer Dylan Roof “hijacked it.” The former United States ambassador to the United Nations took her comments a step further when she added that her home state doesn’t have “hateful” people in it.

“Here is this guy who comes out with his manifesto, holding the Confederate flag and had just hijacked everything that people thought of,” Haley said of Roof. “We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority who are always going to be there, but people saw it as service, sacrifice and heritage. But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it.”

CHESTER, WV AUG 18: Some Confederate flag representations are being seen more often these days because of what has been labeled, “The Trump Effect.” Flying the flag in some places was once a political risk but in the Trump era more angry white Americans are using the flag motif as a protest vehicle and not concerned that it might represent painful imagery to some Americans. -These paired flags, The Confederate Flag and a Trump M.A.G.A. flag fly along the Lincoln Highway near a video store in Chester, West Virginia. -Many reject that the flag is a symbol of hate and claim that it’s a symbol of rebellion and a rebuke of political correctness. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Twitter, Haley, who was born Nimrata Randhawa to an Indian American family in South Carolina, was quickly put in her place, with thoughtful and historically accurate facts.

A number of Black writers also penned op-eds to refute her revisionist definition.

Others took the time to point out that her comments were, in the words of Roland Martin, simply “BS.”

In the summer of 2015, discussions about the symbolism of the Confederate flag reached a fever pitch in The Palmetto State, after activist Bree Newsome scaled the 30-foot-high flagpole outside of the State House to bring down the flag just ten days after the murders of nine church members at Mother Emanuel Episcopal Church in Charleston. 

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South Carolina, the place where Haley believes hateful people don’t reside, birthed the shooter, Dylan Roof. It’s also a state that, according to the FBI, has seen an uptick in hate crimes, as reported by local NBC affiliate WIS. The southern state also happens to be one of four that currently have no hate crime law, though lawmakers are hoping to change that.


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