Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks over the last week have been making headlines, but the latest may be the most controversial.
When asked about reparations for slavery on the eve of a House hearing on the issue, McConnell said reparations “for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible,” were not a good idea. Besides, he suggested acts, such as electing Barack Obama president, could be considered a form of compensation.
“We tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a Civil War, by passing landmark civil rights legislation, elected an African American president,” McConnell said. “I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it. First of all, it would be hard to figure out whom to compensate.”
The backlash, as it often happens with McConnell, came swiftly.
Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D-43rd District) wrote on Twitter that the “shameful” remarks showed McConnell doesn’t care about black people or Louisville’s West End, and that Kentucky needs to stand against McConnell during his reelection bid.
Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College in Louisville and senior pastor at St. Stephen Church in the West End, called the comment “the most ignorant, historically inaccurate statement ever uttered by a ranking senator.”
McConnell was Obama’s chief adversary during his presidency. He once quipped that his top goal was to make Obama a one-term president and famously blocked Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the final year of his presidency.
The criticism of McConnell came as the senator was taking heat for comments he made Monday about the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
After emotional testimony last week by former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart in support of reauthorizing the fund to help pay for medical and economic losses for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and their families, McConnell said in a Fox News interview that he didn’t know why Stewart was “all bent out of shape” and that “many things in Congress happen at the last minute.”
Stewart jumped on those comments, appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” later Monday and accusing the senator of only supporting the 9/11 community when it’s convenient and using it “as a political pawn to get other things you want.”
McConnell, during his Monday interview on Fox News, added that the Senate “will address this problem appropriately” after the House takes up the bill before the August work period. A spokesman for McConnell on Wednesday said the Senate will take action after the House acts.
McConnell, in the meantime, appeared on Fox News on Thursday night and Monday morning to repeatedly discuss socialism (“none of these socialist schemes, the ‘Green New Deal,’ ‘Medicare for All,’ are going to pass the Senate”), Iran (“The sanctions are really hurting. The president made the right decision backing out of the nuclear deal because it wasn’t much of a deal”) and other issues.
He deflected questions Thursday night about President Donald Trump’s ABC News interview in which he said he would accept damaging information about a political opponent from a foreign government ahead of an election. Trump has since walked back those remarks.
Via – USA TODAY