Stat About Trump Is Going To Some People Really Mad
A new report released on Tuesday found that the U.S. government is made up of nearly 200 officials who can trace their family tree to slaveholders and other participants in America’s history of slavery.
The report, which was compiled by Reuters, detailed the ancestry of current members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and governors and how many of them had lived or had direct relatives who owned slaves before the United States abolished slavery.
The data released by the news outlet showed that five living presidents, two Supreme Court justices, 11 governors, and 100 members of Congress had ancestors who owned slaves. Presidents Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama are all listed among those with families who enslaved other Black people, with Obama's links coming from his White mother's side.
Meanwhile, the only current or living former president living without a family tree connected to slavery is former President Donald Trump, whose family did not immigrate to America until after slavery had already been abolished.
The report also found at least 100 lawmakers in Congress who can trace their lineage to slaveholders, including recognizable names like Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H).
At the Supreme Court, the report says that only Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch have slaveholding ancestors. Another report from the Washington Post recently revealed that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has ancestors who were enslaved, while her husband, Patrick Jackson, descended from slaveholders.
The new report has reignited a national conversation about reparations and the legacy of slavery in the U.S., with deep blue states like California asking what a reparations program could look like. In May, the state's Reparations Task Force proposed that up to $1.2 million be paid out to qualifying Black residents, though Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to endorse the cash payments.
Regardless of what is done, the report is a reminder of how deeply entrenched slavery was in American history and that a large portion of the American political power structure today is still connected to it. Until this connection is addressed, how the U.S. should move forward with something like reparations will remain a hotly debated topic.