Sen. Wicker renews call for new state flag

Published 7:10 pm Monday, August 14, 2017

JACKSON (AP) — Some Mississippi officials are denouncing white nationalist violence that killed one person and injured several others during the weekend in Virginia.

And U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-MIssissippi, said today a new state flag — one without the Confederate battle emblem —would be more unifying, according to a Clarion-Ledger story. Wicker spoke Monday at a meeting of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership.

“I hate to use a tragedy like this, a criminal act of murder, to advance policy,” Wicker said in a quote in the Clarion-Ledger story. “But certainly they have no right to be using our state flag as a symbol of white supremacy … 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.”

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Gov. Phil Bryant sounded off in a Facebook post Monday.

“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,” Bryant wrote in his post. I have been in communication with state law enforcement leadership, and they stand ready to protect our citizens from the type of cowardly terrorism we saw in Virginia.”

Neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members other white supremacists were in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting the city’s decision to remove a Confederate monument.

An Ohio man is charged with second-degree murder after authorities say he drove a car into counter-protesters, killing a Virginia woman and injuring other people.

Wicker, R-Mississippi, called the violence “an outrage.”

“I condemn the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis that engaged in violence,” Sen. Roger Wicker told reporters Monday in Jackson before speaking at a chamber of commerce breakfast.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said Sunday that the “extremist activity in Charlottesville was terrorism.”

“If Muslim men were the aggressors, my Republican colleagues would be decrying an act of terror,” Thompson said in a statement.

Republican Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi, who attended Wicker’s speech Monday, said the violence is “absolutely unacceptable and not part of what America is about.”

In a statement Monday, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran said the violence is “intolerable.”

“The beliefs of white supremacists and extremists of all ilk run counter to what our nation requires as a free and civil society,” Cochran said. “I hope the terrible events in Virginia will serve to bring Americans together to stand up to all forms of violence, hatred, and bigotry.”