A Republican candidate for the House of Representatives has called for the removal of a monument to African American slaves that currently stands on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
Sheri Few, who is running in the Republican primary May 2 in a race for the seat vacated by Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, caused controversy when she took out an ad attacking the decision to remove Confederate monuments, according to the Guardian.
Her ad referred to the vote of South Carolina legislators to take down the flag following the shooting of nine African American churchgoers in June 2015.
"Weak politicians are too quick to blame a horrible tragedy on a flag, or a gun, or even free speech," Few said in the ad, the Guardian reported.
That statement prompted a sharp response from the pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, who called Few's ad "completely distasteful," arguing that it exploited the killings.
Few has urged that Confederate memorabilia be preserved and declared that if elected, she would be "fighting the destruction of every bit of Confederate memorabilia in our country."
Few suggested that a compromise was struck in 2001 to install a monument to African American slaves, so long as the Confederate flag was kept on the grounds of the Statehouse.
"So that issue had supposedly already been settled," she said.
But she argued that the vote to remove the Confederate flag in the wake of the 2015 shooting changed things.
"So then there's this huge monument to African Americans that is still on the Statehouse grounds," Few added. "And, you know, why hasn't anyone called for the removal of that? Because that was a part of the compromise. So that doesn't seem fair, does it?" she said.
A memorial to the Confederacy is still located on the Statehouse grounds. Few alleges that it is also at risk.
"If they insist on removing the memorial itself then, yes, it would be appropriate to remove the other one as well," Few added.
Nobody has yet proposed removing the Confederacy memorial.
Eric Manning, the pastor at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was angered by Few's suggestion.
"The events of a racist committing murder is something [that] ... should never be utilized to advance someone's political career," Manning said.
A number of Confederate monuments have been taken down around the country over recent years.
In New Orleans, the Battle of Liberty Place monument was removed from its downtown location on April 24, which is the same day Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia mark Confederate Memorial Day.
The monument was put up to commemorate an event during Reconstruction, when the white supremacist Crescent City White League stormed the U.S. Custom House and killed seven police officers in protest of African Americans in government, The Times-Picayune reported.