Oklahoma Republicans: Greeting Obama With Confederate Flags 'Disrespectful,' 'Inappropriate'

| by Sean Kelly

Two Oklahoma Republicans spoke out against the protesters who greeted President Barack Obama by waving Confederate flags when he visited Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

“I was shocked and disappointed by those who showed up to wave Confederate flags soon after President Obama arrived in Oklahoma,” Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said in a statement to The Hill.

“Their actions were not only disappointing but incredibly disrespectful, insensitive and embarrassing to the entire state," Cole added. "The unacceptable behavior displayed by these individuals certainly does not reflect the values and views of the vast majority of Oklahomans.

"No president should ever be confronted by such behavior, especially when the purpose of the visit was meant to celebrate and recognize some of our state’s greatest achievements.”

Obama traveled to Oklahoma City on Wednesday to visit a prison and was greeted outside of his hotel by a small crowd of protesters waving Confederate flags. Protesters also gathered to greet Obama's motorcade earlier along a highway near Durant, Oklahoma, with the controversial flag flying.

“Free speech is an amazing thing. Unfortunately this was an inappropriate use of it.” Republican Rep. Frank Lewis added. 

The Confederate flag has been the center of nationwide controversy since the racially-motivated killing of nine African Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina, church last month. A spokesman for Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who greeted the president at the airport, said that many of the protesters were believed to have traveled from Texas. 

“The office of President of the United States is deserving of the respect of all Americans, regardless of how deeply we may disagree on issues or policies,” Cole’s statement read. “Political differences are never a justification to insult the president, and I believe that such action shows disrespect for the office itself."

Sources: The Hill, USA Today

Photo Credit: usatoday.com, KFOR Screenshot