Cory Booker rep calls Mitch McConnell a ‘piece of … ‘ for saying he and Obama ‘both are descendants of slave owners’

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/WHITE HOUSE POOL (ISP POOL IMAGES)/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is triggering some Democrats for his position on reparations – and for noting that former President Barack Obama held the same view.

The Kentucky Republican was asked Tuesday about an extensive NBC News report digging into his ancestry that determined McConnell’s great-great grandfathers owned 14 slaves.

(Video: C-SPAN)

“Were you aware that your great, great grandfathers were slave owners in Alabama before the Civil War, and has that revelation caused you to change your position on reparations?” McConnell was asked during a Senate leadership press conference on Tuesday.

“You know I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama,” he replied. “We both oppose reparations, and we both are the descendants of slave owners.”

According to the NBC News report, McConnell’s great-great-grandfathers “James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama — all but two of them female, according to the county ‘Slave Schedules’ in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.”

The GOP leader’s remarks set off Sen. Cory Booker’s Iowa press communications director, who called him out as a “piece of s–t” for having the same view as Obama.

“[T]his man is, truly, a piece of s–t,” Tess Seger tweeted.

Meanwhile, Booker was left at a loss for words after McConnell’s comments.

(Video: CNN)

“Dear God, there’s…this has been a couple of years of my life for Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump where things come out of their mouths where sometimes I have to just sometimes…you know, have to take a step back for a second and gather myself,” the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful told CNN, arguing that McConnell had no “understanding” of racial issues.

McConnell was asked about reparations last month, ahead of a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” he said. “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing 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, and I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it,” he added. “First of all, it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate. We’ve had waves of immigrants as well who have come to the country and experienced dramatic discrimination of one kind or another.”

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama was opposed to reparations as well, responding to an NAACP questionnaire during the 2008 presidential campaign: “The legacy and stain of slavery are immeasurable; nothing, including reparations, can fully compensate,” also noting that he “would prefer to focus on the issues that will directly address these problems.”

In an interview with The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2016, Obama elaborated on his opposition to reparations.

“Theoretically, you can make, obviously, a powerful argument that centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination are the primary cause for all those gaps. That those were wrongs done to the black community as a whole, and black families specifically, and that in order to close that gap, a society has a moral obligation to make a large, aggressive investment, even if it’s not in the form of individual reparations checks, but in the form of a Marshall Plan, in order to close those gaps,” Obama said.

“It is easy to make that theoretical argument. But as a practical matter, it is hard to think of any society in human history in which a majority population has said that as a consequence of historic wrongs, we are now going to take a big chunk of the nation’s resources over a long period of time to make that right,” he added.

McConnell’s simple statement of facts, that he and Obama share the same opposition to reparations and both are descended from slave-holders, sent the left into a predictable meltdown.

Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker called the comparison “obscene” during an MSNBC interview.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid accused McConnell of “hiding” behind Obama.

Plenty of other pearl-clutching liberals weighed in as well.

The Federalist’s Jesse Kelly put the hysteria into perspective.


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