Beto O’Rourke continued his apology campaign in a recent post revealing that he and his wife are descended from slave owners.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate tweeted Sunday about his “personal connection” to the “legacy of slavery in the United States,” linking to a Medium post about the documents he recently received.
O’Rourke used the revelation to defend his support of reparations, declaring that he benefited “from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others.”
Something that we’ve been talking about in town hall meetings — the legacy of slavery in the United States — now has a much more personal connection. I was recently given documents showing that both Amy and I are descended from people who owned slaves. https://t.co/rGKKLqcoKf
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 15, 2019
“I was recently given documents showing that both Amy and I are descended from people who owned slaves. Along with other possessions listed in their property log were two human beings, Rose and Eliza,” the former Texas congressman wrote, citing a great-great-great grandfathers who were slave owners.
“Records also showed that Amy had an ancestor who owned slaves and another who was a member of the Confederate Army,” he added, referring to his wife’s connection.
“They were able to build wealth on the backs and off the sweat of others, wealth that they would then be able to pass down to their children and their children’s children. In some way, and in some form, that advantage would pass through to me and my children,” O’Rourke wrote.
“That those enslaved Americans owned by my ancestors were denied their freedom, denied the ability to amass wealth, denied full civil rights in America after slavery also had long term repercussions for them and their descendants,” he went on, turning to the topic of reparations, a hot-button issue for Democratic 2020 contenders.
“I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others. That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country so that it works for those who have been locked-out of — or locked-up in — this system,” O’Rourke wrote, vowing he will “do everything I can to deliver on this responsibility.”
Many of the 2020 Democrats are supporting a bill sponsored by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to form a commission on reparations. The push comes as the House Judiciary Committee held a meeting on the issue last month as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has openly opposed the idea.
McConnell triggered the left last week with his response to a report that claimed his great-great grandfathers owned 14 slaves. The Kentucky Republican used the occasion to note that “once again in the same position as President Obama.”
Cory Booker rep calls Mitch McConnell a ‘piece of … ‘ for saying he and Obama ‘both are descendants of slave owners’ https://t.co/SYCBmYEjrw
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 10, 2019
“We both oppose reparations, and we both are the descendants of slave owners,” he said, sending liberals into a spiral, though they seemed unfazed that Sen. Kamala Harris’s father had revealed earlier this year that their ancestors also owned slaves – many times what McConnell’s ancestors reportedly had.
O’Rourke, who recently claimed that America was founded on “white supremacy,” continued in his piece by reiterating his support of reparations “beginning with an important national conversation on slavery and racial injustice.”
He promised policies that would address the issue in areas like universal healthcare and criminal justice reform as well as the underfunding for minority-majority public schools and giving federal funding to minority and women owned businesses.
“We all need to know our own story as it relates to the national story, much as I am learning mine. It is only then, I believe, that we can take the necessary steps to repair the damage done and stop visiting this injustice on the generations that follow ours,” he concluded.
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.
Twitter users weighed in on O’Rourke’s non-news about his ancestors and slammed his gasp for attention.
Beto must be SHOOK to realize he’s really, really white and not a Mexican.
— Andrew (@Ajrivas) July 15, 2019
And Beto with a last minute cry for attention to save his campaign.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) July 15, 2019
The Guardian was publishing a story on it so he got ahead of it.
— OHSportsGirl (@OHSportsGirl) July 15, 2019
It’s not even something worth the word “admission” really, I think acknowledging history and how it has led to current socioeconomic climates is important, but it’s not like this has any practical effect on one’s own life. Everyone has an awful ancestor, it’s not politics ?
— Jak, without the ‘c’ (@skarrambo) July 15, 2019
What next another apology tour for his failing campaign ??♂️
— Minister Noble (@ministernoble) July 15, 2019
as an act of reparation, he should drop out of the presidential race
— Alejandrina G.R. (@alejandrina_gr) July 15, 2019
This is the stupidest admission to date. My great, great, great, great grandfather was a bank robber does that make me a bad guy? How stupid can one get?
— Hmac (@HMcAlpin) July 15, 2019
— Ernest HODLway 2.0 (@hodlway2) July 15, 2019
At this point @BetoORourke would say he had relatives that were part of the Manson family if it would give him news coverage on his fledgling campaign
— Steve TheFlash (@TheFin99) July 15, 2019
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