Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran (R) said on Tuesday morning that it’s “up to the legislature” whether to remove the Confederate flag portion from his state’s flag.
“I feel that it’s up to the legislature,” Cochran said in an interview.
GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo, who represents the southern Mississippi 4th district, also said any changes to the flag should be left up to the legislature.
The Mississippi Republicans echoed the statements of the state’s other senator, Roger Wicker (R), who is also the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
“I support the will of the people of Mississippi, as well as the rights of other states to make their own determination on this issue. Mississippians voted in 2001 to retain the current state flag,” Wicker said. “If it is time to make a change, then it should be up to the Mississippi legislature and the people of the state to decide.”
Both lawmakers were responding to comments on Monday night by the conservative speaker of the Mississippi state House, who declared that his state should consider changing its flag to remove the Confederate symbolism.
“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us,” Philip Gunn said in a statement. “As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and several high-ranking Republican lawmakers are calling for removal of the Confederate flag from certain areas in the wake of a church shooting last week that left nine people dead.
On Capitol Hill Tuesday, South Carolina GOP Rep. Tom Rice said he agreed with Sanford and Haley that the flag should be moved away from state Capitol grounds.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) weighed in late Tuesday with a Facebook post.
“I hope that the Legislature can do the same thing now that they did 15 years ago: take the time and effort to fashion a compromise that removes the flag in a way that all South Carolinians can rally around with pride and respect — and with the sense of community that has been on display for the world to see in Charleston in the aftermath of last Wednesday evening,” Mulvaney wrote. “By doing that we will once again have the opportunity to show everyone what is special about our state. Maybe with the flag removed, people will listen.”
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said he agreed with the words of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who stood with Haley as she announced her decision.
“I stand with Senator Tim Scott in calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds. Senator Scott’s statement yesterday echoes my beliefs,” Wilson said in a statement.
In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said the flag was “historically” an issue reviewed by the state legislature and not members of Congress.
“Nevertheless, as a lifelong resident of South Carolina, I do have an opinion,” Gowdy stated. “I agree with Senator Tim Scott in toto and believe the flag should be moved, to the extent it was ever raised or placed on the Capitol grounds, to a museum on South Carolina history.”