Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday invoked an unlikely ally while defending his opposition to reparations for slavery: former President Barack Obama.
When asked whether his views on reparations had changed in light of an NBC report that two of his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners, McConnell compared his views to those of Obama, who also opposed the idea.
“I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama,” McConnell told reporters. “We both oppose reparations. We both are the descendants of slave owners.”
In 2007, genealogists reported that Obama, whose black father was Kenyan and whose white mother was from Kansas, had slave-owning ancestors on his maternal side.
Last month, McConnell said he did not think reparations were a “good idea,” noting that no one currently alive is responsible for slavery. His remarks on reparations come as the issue has gained more attention in the House and on the 2020 campaign trail.
House Democratic leaders in June said they would hold a floor vote on legislation to create a commission that would study and develop reparations proposals for the descendants of black slaves.