- Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday appeared on ABC’s “The View” and was asked whether he’d support reparations for the descendants of slaves.
- “I think that right now our job is to address the crises facing the American people in our communities,” Sanders replied. “And I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”
- The topic of reparations is emerging as a central issue in the early months of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday said there are “better ways” to address the crises in American communities than “writing out a check” when he was asked if he supports reparations for the descendants of slaves.
When Sanders was asked to expand on his views regarding this issue on ABC’s “The View,” the senator said, “The wealth gap … between the white community and the black community is like 10 to one. Health disparities are terrible, environmental disparities are terrible – Flint, Michigan, comes to mind.”
Sanders added, “What we have got to do is pay attention to distressed communities – black communities, Latino communities, and white communities all over this country – and as president I pledge to do that.”
The Vermont senator was then pressed by host Sunny Hostin to address reparations more specifically.
Hostin asked, “Why not support reparations then?”
Sanders asked Hostin to clarify exactly what she means by “reparations,” and she said “money” for the descendants of slaves.
“I think that right now our job is to address the crises facing the American people in our communities,” Sanders replied. “And I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”
Sen. @BernieSanders says he doesn't support reparations for slave descendants because there are "better ways" than "just writing out a check": “I think that right now our job is to address the crises facing the American people in our communities." https://t.co/f8u2wc159S pic.twitter.com/Tll5j2iDaD
— The View (@TheView) March 1, 2019
A number of Democratic candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have been questioned on their positions on reparations and it appears to be emerging as a central issue in campaign discussions.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro has explicitly endorsed reparations, but other candidates have offered more vague, convoluted stances.
Sen. Cory Booker, for example, recently contended his “baby bonds” plan, which would annually grant every native-born child in the US a set amount of money, is a “form of reparations.”
But in a rapidly expanding and diverse field of candidates, Sanders has expressed more scepticism over the issue than others from a policy standpoint.
“We’re going to do everything we can to put resources into distressed communities and improve lives for those people who have been hurt from the legacy of slavery,” Sanders said during a CNN town hall on Monday when asked about reparations by an audience member.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who was moderating the town hall, then pressed Sanders on whether he’d endorse reparations more specifically as other candidates have done, to which the senator replied, “What does that mean? What do they mean? I don’t think it’s clear.”
During his 2016 campaign, Sanders referred to the concept of reparations as “divisive” and said the likelihood of legislation on the matter getting through Congress is “nil.”
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