GOP gov: 'Hats off' to Wal-Mart on Confederate flag

Gov. Hutchinson: Hats off to Wal-Mart
Gov. Hutchinson: Hats off to Wal-Mart

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday the decision by Wal-Mart, one of his state's largest employers, to stop selling Confederate flag-related items "makes some sense" from a sensitivity standpoint.

"They set an example and a high standard, and hats off to Wal-Mart," added the Republican governor—stressing retailers need to make their own judgments and government should not get involved in banning products.

The recent debate over the Confederate flag, a symbol of the Civil War, started in the wake of last week's deadly mass shooting at a prominent African-American church in South Carolina.

Lawmakers there agreed on Tuesday to hold a debate later this summer on whether to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the Statehouse, after South Carolina's Republican governor, Nikki Haley, joined calls for its removal.

Wal Mart charging suppliers fees
Wal Mart charging suppliers fees

Hutchinson commended his colleagues in South Carolina for their response to the tragedy. "I think it's certainly important that we don't have symbols in our society that are offensive to a segment and that arouse racial division."

Meanwhile, the state flag of Arkansas has a nod to Confederate membership in its design: the blue star over the state name.

"I haven't heard any complains about it from my constituents, but we want to continue to measure whether it's there as a point of history, as I view it," Hutchinson said, or whether it's politically divisive. "I don't see our flag in that context."

"To me it's about a moment in history, not a symbol of divisiveness," the governor added.