Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) ventured into what he called “dicey subjects” on Wednesday as he dealt with a supporter who said he saw no racism in the Confederate flag, Talking Points Memo reported.
“Look, the Confederacy is a part of our heritage, and it should be respected like other parts,” Bush said during a campaign appearance. “It doesn’t have to define who we are either. The problem with the Confederate flag isn’t the Confederacy, the problem with the Confederate flag is what it began to represent later. And that’s what we have to avoid to heal those wounds.”
The Republican presidential candidate made the remarks while arguing that the removal of the flag and other Confederate iconography from public buildings should be left up to individual states, after the audience member said, “anybody killing any other entity because of one basis or not is horrible. But does that necessarily require, I guess, removing all these Confederate fixtures?”
Bush, who called the flag a “racist” symbol in South Carolina in June, said he acted unilaterally to order its removal from state facilities in 2001 in order to avoid a “political fight.”
The flags were moved into the state history museum, he said, “because it was part of our heritage, but it would not be a visible sign of what Florida is about.”
“Honestly? I don’t even think it shows any sign of racism,” the unidentified audience member said.
“I’m not sure if you were a civil rights worker in the 1960s trying to fight for equal rights for African Americans that they would necessary agree with you,” Bush replied. “And that’s the point. It isn’t the 19th century issue, it’s the 20th century issue.”
Watch the discussion, as posted online, below.