U.S. President Donald Trump defended those who view the Confederate flag as banner of pride.
Trump was asked on "Fox News Sunday" if the Stars-and-Bars - considered a symbol of slavery and oppression by most Americans - was offensive.
He answered, "When people proudly had their Confederate flags, they're not talking about racism. They love their flag. It represents the South."
The Republican president has staunchly defended symbols and monuments of the Confederacy, some of which have been toppled or vandalized by civil rights protesters.
Trump's support for the Confederate flag comes after his own defense secretary issued a de facto ban on the banner at all U.S. military bases last week.
Former U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell on Sunday told CBS News he supported the move.
"We have one flag and only one flag only. And that's the flag we should all support and all display and all be proud of."
Powell also said he supported changing the names of U.S. military bases honoring Confederate figures, such as Fort Hood and Fort Bragg.
The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Miller, said earlier this month it was time to take look at what those names signaled to recruits.
"Forty-three percent of the United States military are minorities and in the Army, for example, these are Army bases you're talking about, we're up to 20-plus percent African-American and in some units you'll see 30 percent. And for those young soldiers that go on to a base, a Fort Hood or a Fort Bragg or Fort wherever named after a Confederate general, they can be reminded that, that general fought for an institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their one of their ancestors."
An amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act would remove those names within a year. Trump has promised to veto the bill if it includes that measure.
He told Fox News, quote, "No, I'm not gonna go changing."