Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell (R) is set to be sworn in today as South Carolina’s new lieutenant governor after Ken Ard resigned from the position last week in the wake of a grand jury indictment on ethics violations. But McConnell may not be any less controversial.
The Republican lawmaker is perhaps best known for his unapologetic embrace of the Confederacy, grabbing national headlines in 2010 when he appeared in photos dressed as a confederate general — posing with two people presumably imitating slaves:
Asked in a 1999 interview on ABC’s Nightline what he thinks when he sees the Confederate Flag, he replied, “I see honor, courage, valor. I see the red, white and blue and the blood of sacrifice that ran through that battle and the people that carried that flag. I don’t see black and white. I don’t see racism.” He added that it “hurt[s] our feelings” when people bring up race with the flag.
When the South Carolina legislature voted to removed the Confederate Flag from the state capitol in 2000, he said, “Like General Lee when he was confronted with Appomattox and said, ‘There’s nothing left for me to do than get terms from General Grant.’ It is very difficult, extremely difficult for us on our side to vote to move that flag. And it has been equally difficult for our brethren on the other side.”