Mike Huckabee was challenged this morning by Ed Henry on why he appeared to "punt" on the question of whether the Confederate flag should fly outside the South Carolina statehouse.
Huckabee said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that he would not be "baited" into discussing the issue. He said the people of South Carolina should decide whether the flag should remain and that the issue has nothing to do with the presidential campaign.
Henry pressed Huckabee on whether his response to the question was an example of "forceful" leadership.
"I didn't punt at all. I just simply said that the President of the United States has nothing to do with what flags go on [state] capitol grounds," said Huckabee, adding that he believes such questions are meant to "bait" him on whether South Carolina is a "racist state."
Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called Monday for the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds but defended the right of private citizens to fly it.
Huckabee said he "absolutely" agrees with Haley's decision.
"I salute Governor Haley and the other people of South Carolina for saying, 'Look, if this is a distraction, if this is something that enflames people, it’s not that important to us. What’s more important is a state where we can create the kind of atmosphere we saw out of the church members of Charleston," said Huckabee.
He then called on the American people to look to God in order to deal with lingering racist attitudes.
“I keep hearing people saying we need more conversations about race. Actually we don’t need more conversations. What we need is conversions because the reconciliation that changes people is not a racial reconciliation, it’s a spiritual reconciliation when people are reconciled to God," said Huckabee.
Watch the interview above.