NBC Finds Mitch McConnell’s Great-Great-Grandfathers Owned Slaves. McConnell Savages Them In Two Sentences.
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Late Monday night, NBC News published an “exclusive” revealing that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s great-great-grandfathers owned 14 slaves. The article ties the so-called revelation to McConnell’s opposition to reparations for the descendants of slaves.
NBC spent a great amount of time digging through century-old census records to trace McConnell’s history and find the slave owners.
“The two 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,” NBC reported.
At Tuesday afternoon’s Senate leadership press conference, McConnell was predictably asked about the report.
“You know, I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama,” McConnell said. “We both oppose reparations and we both are the descendants of slave owners.”
"You know, I found myself once again in the same position as President Obama. We both oppose reparations. And we both are the descendants of slave holders."
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) July 9, 2019
Back in 2007, The Guardian reported that amateur genealogical researcher William Reitwiesner found Obama’s great-great-great-great-grandfather, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves in Kentucky. Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves. Duvall was a descendent of Maureen Duvall, “whose estate owned at least 18 slaves in the 17th century,” the Guardian reported.
In 2004, Obama said reparations “would be an excuse for some to say we’ve paid our debt” and stop efforts to heal, USA Today reported. Obama did not call for reparations or pursue the issue during his two presidential terms.
In the past, McConnell (R-KY) has said he opposed reparations because “no one currently alive was responsible for that.”
“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,” McConnell said previously.
“We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation, by electing an African American president,” he continued, adding that it would be difficult to determine who is owed and who owes.
The issue is making a comeback as Democrats battle to figure out who will take on President Donald Trump in 2020. The African-American unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in decades — and reached a record low in May 2018 — and the economy is still booming. The black community certainly favors Democrats, but if Trump can peel off part of that vote, it could bring trouble for his opponent come election time.
Multiple media outlets picked up on the NBC report to attack McConnell, suggesting this was why he opposed reparations. There is no evidence to suggest McConnell knew that his great-great grandfathers had owned slaves.
The report came out, coincidentally, the night before Amy McGrath announced she would run against McConnell in 2020. The Senate Majority Leader was also asked about his new opponent, to which he responded: “It’ll be a spirited race.” He added that he actually enjoys campaigns, unlike many of his Senate colleagues.