WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said in an interview on Monday that he thinks the concept of the federal government giving reparations to the descendants of slaves is “unusual” and “interesting” but he doesn’t “see it happening.”
“I think it’s a very unusual thing,” Trump told The Hill when asked about the idea of trying to rectify the enduring effects of slavery’s legacy. “It’s been a very interesting debate. I don’t see it happening, no.”
On June 19, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing to discuss legislation introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, calling for the creation of a commission to study the lasting effects of slavery’s legacy and what could be done to address it.
Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who is running for president, has introduced a similar bill to create a commission to study “the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans and make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves.”
“We as a nation have not yet truly acknowledged and grappled with racism and white supremacy that has tainted this country’s founding and continues to persist in those deep racial disparities and inequalities today,” Booker said during testimony at last week’s hearing.
Lawmakers on Wednesday held the first congressional hearing in more than a decade on reparations, spotlighting the debate over whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves in the United States. (June 19) AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he didn’t think that “reparations for something that happened 150 years ago” is a “good idea.”
“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 told reporters.
Booker’s legislation currently has 14 cosponsors, with six other presidential candidates among them: Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Lee’s bill has been cosponsored by three Democratic presidential candidates: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.
Other Democratic presidential candidates who have expressed support for a study or for reparations include former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Author Marianne Williamson has made the most ambitious proposal of all the 2020 Democrats so far, calling for $200 to $500 billion to e paid in reparations over 20 years,
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who maintains a wide lead in most Democratic primary polls, has not said what his current position on reparations is, but in 1975 hesaid, “I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago,” according to an interview published in The Washington Post.