Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks said Wednesday that each state must decide on whether to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from their capitol buildings, saying "that's part of states rights, that's what the south fought for during the War Between The States."
Brooks added that "people need to be more tolerant of states' rights issues."
"Each state needs to decide for itself what it wants to remember and what it wants to memorialize," Brooks said on Alabama's Matt Murphy Show on Wednesday morning.
"That's part of states' rights, that's what the south fought for during the War Between The States, and I'll defer to our elected officials in Alabama who are responsible for that kind of decision, our state senators, our state legislators, and governor as they wrestle with the issue as I did when I was in the legislature back in the 1980s."
"I have decided on this issue as I have on a bunch of other issues that I have federal government and I'm gonna defer to the states what could be state responsibilities," said Brooks citing his past career as a state lawmaker.
Brooks said he wouldn't "second guess" what state lawmakers in Alabama decide to do. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered that four Confederate flags be taken down from the state Capitol grounds in Montgomery on Wednesday.
"As a federal official on this issue I'm not going to second guess what our state legislator and executive branch ultimately decide. I'm gonna have faith that the decision they reach will be the best one. And they're going to have deal with all of the different nuances associated with this and the myriad of other issues that they face."
Brooks said their was "no question" that the Confederate flag debate to distract from the real issues.
"I will add that there is apparently an effort underway on removal on removal of the Mississippi of the state flag from the Capitol grounds," said Brooks. "I'm not sure if you're aware but there are places on the United States Capitol grounds that have the flags of all 50 states, lined up. For example the tunnel from Rayburn House Building to the Capitol, also from the United States Capitol to the Senate office buildings and I will not be voting to remove the state flag of Mississippi."
"People need to be more tolerant of states rights issues. And if Mississippi decides if there flag is gonna be whatever it's gonna be, by golly that there is their flag, they are a state in this union. They are not violating any laws, and as such, we should defer to their wishes."
Brooks said that top-down dictates from the federal government have "made our country for the worst."
"Again, I don't believe in this top-down dictate from the federal government as unfortunately has happened on so many different issues and in my judgement has made our country for the worst."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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