Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Tuesday during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he was “not offended at all” by the Confederate flag.
Barbour’s comments came after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said the Confederate flag should be removed from the state’s capitol grounds. Haley’s action has prompted debate over the presence of the flag at other state capitols, including Mississippi, whose own flag incorporates the Confederate battle flag into its design.
“I am not offended at all by our flag or the Confederate flag for that matter but some people are,” Barbour said.
Barbour, who currently serves as a lobbyist for an online sales tax he advocated for as governor, evaded questions about his stance on the flag at state capitols. He shifted the focus of the conversation again and again, insisting that the decision was “up to the people of Mississippi.”
“Morning Joe” panelists and and MSNBC contributors Eugene Robinson and Mike Barnicle each tried to get an answer from the former National Committee chairman — both failed.
“The ones who have to deal in Congress, the ones that have to deal in the legislature, the ones that have to deal in the county governments, they’re the ones that ought to take the leadership not the has-beens,” Barbour said. “The last thing that a governor wants to hear is ‘Well, the old governor said we ought to do so and so.’”
“Governor, you know, you’re not a has-been,” Barnicle said. “We all know you’re not a has-been.”
“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski jumped in.
“I gotta tell you, it just sorta seems a little bit like a cop-out to leave it to others to decide,” Brzezinski said. “Either you have an opinion in your heart or you don’t.”
Barbour again avoided the question before launching into a discussion of a civil rights memorial museum to be built in Mississippi.
“Shouldn’t that flag be in that museum?” Brzezinski said.
“It will be,” Barbour said.
“Okay. And not flying?” Brzezinski said.
“That flag will be in that museum,” Barbour said.
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