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McConnell: Obama and I Both Have Slave-Owning Ancestors

He says they're the same in that way, and on subject of reparations
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2019 8:17 AM CDT
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, listens as Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., left, speaks to reporters following the weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Mitch McConnell is opposed to reparations, a stance that he says is unchanged by some digging NBC News did. On Monday, it published a report based on 1850 and 1860 census records that showed two of his great-great-grandfathers were Alabama slave owners, having at least 14 slaves between them. CNN reports that when asked if that fact changed his perspective, he answered in the negative and likened himself to former President Obama. "You know, once again I find myself in the same position as President Obama, we both oppose reparations, and both are the descendants of slave holders," McConnell replied. Politico reports that genealogists in 2007 found Obama's mother had ancestors who were slave owners.

The AP reports McConnell has mentioned Obama in a different context when discussing reparations, saying in June that he didn't believe "reparations for something that happened 150 years 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, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We elected an African American president." New York Magazine notes that perspective actually deviates from Obama's. "Where McConnell implied that measures undertaken already were reparations enough ... the president has alternately advocated for investments in education and expressed worry that reparations could become an excuse for ignoring subsequent inequality." (Georgetown students recently considered the subject of reparations.)

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