Jeb Bush said Monday that the Confederate flag has become a “racist” symbol and applauded efforts to remove the flag outside the South Carolina State Capitol after a racially motivated church shooting.
In his first campaign stop in South Carolina since the deadly shooting that killed nine at AME Emanuel Church in Charleston, Bush recalled how he “decided to do something politically incorrect” and removed the flags outside the Florida state house when he was governor in 2001.
“The symbols were racist,” the Republican presidential candidate said during a campaign stop at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.
“If you’re trying to lean forward rather than live in the past, you want to eliminate the barriers that create disagreements, and so I did,” he added.
Last week, South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, along with a number of high-profile Republicans, called for the flag to be removed.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.