During a radio appearance on Wednesday, Cory Booker slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Republican said that reparations aren’t necessary.
McConnell told reporters, “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea.” He added that “none of us currently living are responsible.”
The GOP leader also suggested that Obama’s election was some sort of reparation for slavery, saying, “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.”
Booker took issue with McConnell’s response telling host Joe Madison that there was “a tremendous amount of ignorance” in the Republican’s statement.
— Joe Madison (@MadisonSiriusXM) June 19, 2019
Booker went on to say, “I think that one of the big strikes of ignorance that he says there is that somehow this is about a compensation, in other words, writing a check to somebody and reducing the urgency of this conversation to simply that,” according to The Hill.
On Wednesday — known as “Juneteenth,” a date to commemorate the freeing of the last slaves in America — the House of Representatives held a hearing to discuss reparations. Actor Danny Glover and author Ta-Nehisi Coates both testified at the hearing and Coates delivered a rousing opening statement that went after McConnell.
For years, members of the House have been pushing to begin a study on reparations and Booker has called for that as well. He told Madison, “The goal for me in pushing this effort is to make sure we get to the end that we seek, which is equality of opportunity, a leveling of economic playing fields, health playing fields, housing playing fields.”
The New Jersey senator is in a crowded 2020 Democratic field and reparations have become one of the more frequent policy stances that the Democrats are asked to address.