Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D) said in a Wednesday Facebook post that the Confederate flag shouldn’t be used as a “political symbol that divides” but avoided weighing in on the flag itself or whether it has a place on state capitol grounds.
Webb, a potential 2016 presidential contender and the last to voice his opinion, has been an outspoken supporter of the flag in the past.
His post is below:
This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.
But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect.
Prior to his Facebook post, Webb had refused to weigh in on the issue.
Webb’s spokesman, Craig Crawford, told Mother Jones via email on Tuesday that Webb “just has not been on (sic) the habit of commenting on news of the day. He’s not an official candidate.”