Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says racism and hatred have no place in America, a response in the wake of a violent incident brought about by white nationalists in Virginia.
McMaster was asked about the alarming events from Saturday while at a job fair to help the 5,600 people fired at the VC Summer Nuclear Station find jobs.
"I think it's a disgrace," said of the Charlottesville incident. "I think racism, that kind of hatred, that kind of violence is off the scale. It has no place in this country certainly no place in South Carolina."
One woman was killed and 20 others were injured when a car driven by a white nationalist rammed into a car of people counter-protesting the white nationalists, police say.
"We are praying for the innocent people up there who are being hurt and mistreated and we hope it stops immediately," McMaster said. "We have no sympathy and no tolerance for that kind of nonsense and violence and hatefulness. It's absurd in this country at this time. It's absurd."
The while nationalists had come to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. McMaster was asked by a reporter about the efforts by Louisville's mayor to also remove Confederate monuments, and if there could be a similar push in South Carolina.
"I don't think so," McMaster said. "We have been through those issues over the years. I think our people are different. I think our people are proud of South Carolina, I think our people work hard, and I think they're looking for work, I believe they're very talented.
"For all the reasons, from where we all came from here we are and we have proven over the years that we are different from other parts of the country, that we do things a little differently, and you can see how it's paying off right now. South Carolina is leading the country in economic development, growth, and prosperity. I think that most people are ready to get to work and keep working educate the children and get stronger and stronger."
Unlike other states, where mayors and governors have the authority to remove monuments at public sites, a law passed in 2000 gives that power exclusively to the South Carolina General Assembly. It requires lawmakers have a two-thirds majority to remove those markers.
In that time, only one monument has been removed: that was in 2015, when the Confederate battle flag was taken off a flagpole on the front grounds of the State House and moved to a nearby museum.