The Confederate battle flag flies at a memorial in front of the South Carolina statehouse.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who’s seeking the Republican nod for the White House in 2016, said the Confederate flag represents part of what his South Carolina state is all about, and he wouldn’t remove it from the Capitol.

He made the remarks in reply to a question from CNN’s Alisyn Camarota about whether it was time to bring down the Confederate flag, in the face of the massive church shooting that killed nine.

Currently, South Carolina flies the Confederate flag from the Capitol, though it’s been lowered to half-mast for the last two days.

Get your favorite flag from the WND Superstore’s flag department, from “Don’t Tread on Me” and the “Union Civil War” flags to the Bennington, Culpeper, Betsy Ross and more.

Graham’s answer was a resounding “no.”

He said, Mediaite reported: “But this is part of who we are. The flag represents, to some people, a civil war and that was the symbol of one side. To others, it’s a racist symbol and it’s been used by people in a racist way.”

He also said it’s “fine” if South Carolinians want to “revisit” the decision to fly the flag atop the Capitol. But he also added: It’s not the flag that makes people racist.

Rather, racism comes from “what’s in people’s heart,” he said.

Rep. Mark Sanford, who used to serve as South Carolina’s governor, who was asked the same question on MSNBC, responded similarly, calling the flag a “symbol of heritage,” not one of hate.

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See WND’s extensive coverage of the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre:

Was church shooter on powerful mind-altering drug?

Charleston shooter ‘wanted to start a civil war’

Big radio talkers react to church massacre

Charleston church shooter: ‘You rape our women’

Obama: America must ‘do something’ about ‘gun violence

Hero of 1993 church attack calls for being armed

BIG LIST of drug-induced killers

Dylann Roof confesses: ‘Everyone so nice’ at church

‘You hurt a lot of people, but I forgive you’

Carolina courage in face of my cousin’s murder

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