Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (AP/David Goldman)

Jeb Bush: "The problem with the Confederate flag is what it began to represent later and that's what we have to avoid to heal those wounds"

"It isn't the 19th Century issue," he said, explaining nothing, "it's a 20th Century issue"

Scott Eric Kaufman
December 24, 2015 6:55PM (UTC)

At a campaign stop on Wednesday, GOP also-ran Jeb Bush was asked whether it was just and right to remove "Confederate fixtures" because of "anybody killing any other entity because of one basis or not."

Bush said it should be "a state-by-state decision," and noted that "I moved all of the flags off the state premises, into the Florida museum, where they would be honored, because it was part of our heritage, but it would not be a visible sign of what Florida is about."


"There's a way to find the right balance, as you're bringing up, because, look, the Confederacy is a part of our heritage, and it should be respected like other parts," he continued.

"It doesn't have to define who we are either. Because that symbol -- the problem with the Confederate flag isn't the Confederacy, the problem with the Confederate flag is what it began to represent later. And that's what we have to avoid to heal those wounds."

When he finished, the man who asked the original question declared he saw no racism in the flag, to which Bush said, "I'm not sure if you were a civil rights worker in the 1960s trying to fight for equal rights for African Americans that they would necessary agree with you and that's the point. It isn't the 19th century issue, it's the 20th century issue."


Watch the entire Q&A via YouTube below.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Elections 2016 Jeb Bush The Confederate Flag

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