Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dismissed reparations for descendants of slaves as unnecessary, citing a questionable reason on Tuesday.
McConnell’s comments came the day before a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the issue—the first hearing of its kind in over ten years. They also came the day before Juneteenth, which celebrates the anniversary of former slaves in Texas learning of their freedom two years after winning it.
Judging by McConnell’s comments, we don’t think he’ll be celebrating.
McConnell: "I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 yrs ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea. We've tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war …We've elected an African American president."
Via ABC pic.twitter.com/yGQLpeyHGz
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 18, 2019
McConnell repeated the irrelevant claim that “none of us currently living are responsible” for slavery, before continuing:
“We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing a landmark civil rights legislation, we’ve elected an African American president. I think we’re always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that.”
McConnell’s comments were criticized far and wide for a multitude of reasons.
First of all, the African-American president to whom he’s referring—former President Barack Obama—was obstructed by McConnell at nearly every turn.
"African American president" who he promised to undermine even before he was sworn in.
— Len Burman (@lenburman) June 18, 2019
"…granted, I personally refused to let the African American president govern and actively spat in his face every time he tried to negotiate with us, and we're working hard to make sure that civil rights legislation gets rendered as ineffective as possible…"
— Turbulent Priestish (@Centrist_Elite) June 18, 2019
"Electing an African American president" whom he relished thwarting at every single turn, made it his "number one priority" to make Obama a one-term president.
Oh and also, Merrick Garland, lest we forget.
We all deserve reparations for having to live with someone like Mitch
— Patriot Farmer (@OaktownBruja) June 18, 2019
What’s more, many pointed out that Obama wasn’t elected as a form of reparations, nor was the Civil Rights bill.
WTF? By electing an African American president? Like we didn't vote for him because he was the most qualified?
— Stacy~Dragon Lover (@StacyLoveLife) June 18, 2019
Civil rights legislation wasn’t a gift or a reparation. It was an attempt to fulfill a promise embedded in the constitution.
McConnell has been a firm opponent of Obama and civil rights acts. He’s overseen their judicial and legislative erosion and the rise of the new Jim Crow.
— felinecannonball (@feline_cannon) June 18, 2019
— Anne Leader (@anneleaderegval) June 18, 2019
Bull. Electing Obama had zero to do with reparations for the evils of slavery. And @SenMajLdr what civil rights legislation have YOU passed?
— Molly Gordon (@shaboom) June 18, 2019
Some weren’t surprised.
I wouldn’t have expected him to answer any other way. pic.twitter.com/WVlQDiErgt
— Mr. Christopher (@iamalmostlegend) June 18, 2019
wow, that is mighty white of him!
— Claudia Jones (@lunarclo) June 18, 2019
The effects of slavery and Jim Crow are still being felt today. Mitch McConnell is just wrong on so many levels.
— Cycle Forward Films (@CycleForward) June 18, 2019
For more reliable information about reparations, you can tune into the The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing on H.R. 40 here. H.R. 40 would allow for research into possible reparation proposals and their eventual consideration.