South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley choked up Thursday morning during the press conference about the shooting rampage that left nine people dead at a black Charleston church. Dylann Roof, the suspected gunman, was arrested this morning during a traffic stop about 245 miles north in Shelby, North Carolina.
“We woke up today,” Haley said, choking back tears, “and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken. And so we have some grieving to do. And we’ve got some pain we have to go through. Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe. And that’s not something ever we thought we’d deal with.”
Haley is already under attack by some on the left for a statement she made on Facebook as events unfolded:
Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight’s senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.
If you’re wondering what possibly could be considered objectionable about that — it’s that she didn’t jump to the conclusion that the massacre was a result of racial hatred before all the facts were in.
Notice that Haley claims to be sure of only one thing, that “we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates” people to commit acts of violence such as this. But when a group of black people gathered for Bible study gets gunned down by a white guy in one of the most historically prominent freedom-fighting black churches in the nation, it seems pretty clear why it happened: hatred and racism.
A former Obama administration official found a way to blame Governor Haley on Twitter Wednesday night by linking the shooting to her position on the Confederate flag.
Brandon Friedman, the former deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, posted a tweet shortly after the Wednesday night shooting linking it to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s defense of flying the Confederate flag outside of the South Carolina statehouse.
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) June 18, 2015
What Haley’s defense of the Confederate flag has to do with Wednesday night’s shooting rampage is anyone’s guess, but it’s clear Friedman was attempting to make some ugly implications.