New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the Mississippi flag removed from a state park Friday over the Confederate emblem that adorns it, as the nationwide debate rages over symbols honoring the antebellum South.
Murphy, a Democrat, ordered the flag be replaced with an American flag at Liberty State Park, a preserve of more than 1,200 acres in Jersey City that overlooks Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, just across the harbor from New York City, NorthJersey.com reported.
The park has traditionally flown the flags of all 50 states.
"The Confederate symbol displayed on the Mississippi state flag is reprehensible and does not reflect our values of inclusivity and equality," the first-term Democrat said in a statement.
The state flag of Mississippi flies at the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, Miss. (Associated Press)
In response, Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement Friday saying he was “disappointed in Gov. Murphy's actions. As I have repeatedly said, the voters of Mississippi should decide what the state flag is or is not."
The Mississippi state flag features the Confederate symbol in the upper left corner and first appeared on the flag in 1894. In 2001, Mississippi voters chose to keep the flag.
Murphy said he made the decision after Democratic state Sen. Sandra Cunningham raised the issue with him. Cunningham said the flag “symbolized an era of hate, violence, and division, according to the news site.”
Murphy is facing a recall effort over his progressive policies. Petitioners have until March 2020 to collect nearly $1.5 million valid signatures to force a recall election.