After sidestepping questions about the issue over the weekend, Gov. Scott Walker on Monday said he supports South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol.
"I am glad @nikkihaley is calling for the Confederate flag to come down. I support her decision - SKW," Walker tweeted from his political account shortly after Haley called for the flag to be taken down.
The push to remove the flag comes in the wake of the racially-motivated killing of nine black worshippers in a historic Charleston church last week.
Dylann Roof, a white 21-year-old man, has said he hoped the shooting would spark a race war, CNN reported.
In the days after the shooting, politicians across the political spectrum, from President Barack Obama to his former opponent Mitt Romney, called for the flag to be taken down, arguing that a symbol of segregation has no place at the statehouse.
Walker, in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, condemned the shooting as "racist" and "evil." But talking to reporters, he avoided weighing in on the debate over the flag and what it represents.
"I think they're going to have a good healthy debate and should have that debate in South Carolina amongst officials at the state level," Walker said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I just think before I or anyone else weighs in on anything to do with policy, whether it's this or any other policy decisions, we should honor the dead and the families by allowing them to bury their loved ones. And then you could perfectly ask me that question at some point in the next week or two when that's done."
At the political event, Walker also wouldn't say whether he sees the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism.
The liberal group One Wisconsin Now criticized Walker's initial response, accusing the governor of being too focused on his likely presidential campaign to take a stand.
“There’s no denying the racism and oppression represented by the Confederate flag and there’s no defense for its display in public, on public property," said OWN executive director Scot Ross. "It is appalling that Scott Walker is so blinded by his political ambition he’s willing to abide the flying of a flag that symbolizes racism, hatred and oppression."
Walker was one of several 2016 contenders to give carefully worded answers to questions about the flag over the weekend.
Both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, also of Florida, alluded to "making the right choice," but neither said what that choice should be. However, Bush said in a statement that his position on how to address the flag is clear.
As governor, Bush had the flag taken down from Florida's Capitol in 2001.
"In Florida we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged," Bush said in a statement. "This is obviously a very sensitive time in South Carolina and our prayers are with the families, the AME church community and the entire state. Following a period of mourning there will rightly be a discussion among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward, and I'm confident they will do the right thing."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, also a Republican presidential candidate, joined Haley in calling for the flag's removal on Monday.
For the flag to be taken down, two-thirds of the state Legislature must vote to approve it.
Haley noted Monday the decision would not affect people who wish to fly the flag on their own property.