When asked about reports that his ancestors owned slaves, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that former President Barack Obama’s family owned slaves, too. “I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama,” he said at a news conference. “We both opposed reparations and we both are the descendants of slave-owners.” NBC searched the 1850 and 1860 censuses and found that two of McConnell’s great-great-grandfathers owned at least 14 slaves.
McConnell was referring to reports that, according to the 1850 census, Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfather and great-great-great-great-great-grandmother owned slaves. Recently, the topic of reparations for slavery has been much discussed, with presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson saying they are in favor of it. On June 19, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill that would set up a commission to explore the idea of paying reparations.