“There is no question that slavery is a scourge on the history of America,” Scott said. “The question is, are reparations a realistic path forward? The answer is no. The fact is if you just try to unscramble that egg to figure out who are we compensating, who’s actually paying for it and who was here in 1865?”
He added, “I think you start seeing a formula that (it) is impossible to unscramble that egg. So I think it’s a nonstarter.”
Asked about McConnell’s assertion that the country was making progress on race relations, as illustrated by the election of Barack Obama as the first African American president, Scott said, “That’s not as relevant to me on the issue of reparations.”
“Reparations has nothing to do with whether you elect a black president or not. That’s a whole different conversation,” he said. “Reparations are about what happened in the past, not what’s happening in the present. That’s my theory.”
Scott declined to directly address McConnell’s comments — which have drawn criticism from Democratic politicians and activists — because he had not seen them in full and therefore wanted to discuss only the issues involved.
On Tuesday, in response to a reporter’s question about reparations, McConnell said, “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea.”
The Kentucky Republican added at the time, “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We elected an African American president.”
McConnell also argued that it would be difficult to figure out who to pay because “waves of immigrants” come to the country who have faced “dramatic discrimination.”
In 2016, Scott delivered a powerful and emotional series of Senate floor speeches about the problems African Americans encounter with police in which he talked about the multiple times he has been pulled over — even as a US senator — because he believes he was racially profiled.