South Carolina sheriff will not lower flag for Nelson Mandela


Mourners gather in front of the South African embassy to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela on Dec. 7, 2013 in Tehran, Iran.


Majid Saeedi

A sheriff in South Carolina is defying the president's orders to lower the flags of public buildings for former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Rick Clark, the sheriff of Pickens County, wrote on Facebook that while South Africa’s first black president “did great things for his country and was a brave man,” he would not lower his office's flag to honor someone of foreign descent.

More from GlobalPost: Death of Nelson Mandela (FULL COVERAGE)

"To show a sign of respect for what Nelson Mandela's done, I have no problem with lowering it in South Africa, in their country," he told a local television station.

"But in our country, it should be the people, in my opinion, who have sacrificed for our country."

Clark has declined to comment further.

More from GlobalPost: Nelson Mandela, a life in pictures (PHOTOS)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican and daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, posted a tribute to Mandela on her Facebook page last week.

But things got ugly real quick.

Some commentators responded by calling Mandela everything from an "evil man" and "devout Marxist" to "a socialist goon."