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… https://t.co/smADNqgKz5— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin) 1560889529.0
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.
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr "African American president" who he promised to undermine even before he was sworn in.— Len Burman (@Len Burman) 1560886827.0
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr "...granted, I personally refused to let the African American president govern and acti… https://t.co/2nWXl8M95Z— Turbulent Priestish (@Turbulent Priestish) 1560886061.0
@JudyWoodruff "Electing an African American president" whom he relished thwarting at every single turn, made it his… https://t.co/iDyUQ0Ph6f— Patriot Farmer (@Patriot Farmer) 1560886781.0
What's more, many pointed out that Obama wasn't elected as a form of reparations, nor was the Civil Rights bill adopted for that reason.
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr WTF? By electing an African American president? Like we didn't vote for him because he was the most qualified?— Stacy~Dragon Lover (@Stacy~Dragon Lover) 1560894996.0
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr Civil rights legislation wasn’t a gift or a reparation. It was an attempt to fulfill a… https://t.co/gD3InzeVK4— felinecannonball (@felinecannonball) 1560886773.0
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr Pro tip @senatemajldr, that's not why we elected @POTUS44. Why KY continues to re-elect… https://t.co/d3EiNqwc4m— Anne Leader (@Anne Leader) 1560889137.0
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr Bull. Electing Obama had zero to do with reparations for the evils of slavery. And… https://t.co/XFd2tbvlSe— Molly Gordon (@Molly Gordon) 1560891856.0
Some weren't surprised.
@JudyWoodruff I wouldn’t have expected him to answer any other way. https://t.co/WVlQDiErgt— Mr. Christopher (@Mr. Christopher) 1560896154.0
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr The effects of slavery and Jim Crow are still being felt today. Mitch McConnell is jus… https://t.co/QkNGq7tBmX— Cycle Forward Films (@Cycle Forward Films) 1560899490.0
@JudyWoodruff @senatemajldr wow, that is mighty white of him!— Claudia Jones (@Claudia Jones) 1560885666.0
For more reliable information about reparations, you can watch 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.