Gov. Nikki Haley called Monday afternoon for the removal of the Confederate Flag from State House grounds.
"We're not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer; the fact that people are using it as a symbol of hate is a fact we cannot stand," Haley said. "July 4 is just around the corner ... it is fitting that our State House will soon fly the state of our country ... and no others. One-hundred and fifty years after the Civil War, the time has come."
Haley made the announcement while speaking about Wednesday's tragedy at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is accused of shooting and killing nine parishioners, including Sen. Clementa Pinckney.
Haley said members of the General Assembly will have to remove the flag through legislation. She said she will use her authority as governor to call back legislators in several weeks - after the current and veto sessions are complete - to handle the matter.
Haley was flanked by Sen. Tim Scott and Congressman James Clyburn while making the announcement, and was also joined by Rep. Mark Sanford and Sen. Lindsey Graham, along with other state lawmakers.
In making her announcement, Haley said she understands the flag stands for "heritage for some South Carolinians," but noted that the State House grounds are "for every South Carolinian."
Manninglive.com will have more on this announcement in a bit.
UPDATE: Johnson: Votes are there for legislators to remove Confederate Flag
UPDATE: Governor's Full Speech
UPDATE: Ridgeway fears Confederate Flag issue distracts from Charleston tragedy