If elected president, 2020 Democratic contender Julián Castro said he would create a commission to explore the possibility of reparations for slavery.
During a stop Sunday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Castro did not commit to paying reparations but said it should be part of a topic of conversation for a commission or task force that could explore that and other issues surrounding the nation’s history with slavery.
“I’ve long believed the country should consider reparations because of the atrocity of slavery,” said Castro, a former San Antonio mayor who was President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “I also believe that we’re never going to fully heal as a country from the racial divide until we’ve addressed the tremendous wrong that was done with slavery.”
Former Obama cabinet official and current Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro crushed rival Bernie Sanders‘ argument against “writing a check” for reparations, noting that Sanders’ solution to a host of other issues is to do just that.
On Sunday morning’s edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper asked Castro for his reaction to a clip of Sanders responding to a question about support for slavery reparations by asking what his rivals mean by reparations.
Castro noted that he has promised a “task force” to explore reparations, but zeroed in on a different Sanders remark on reparations. In a recent appearance on The View, Sanders said that “our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”
“To my mind, that may or may not be the best way to address it,” Castro said. “However, it’s interesting to me that when it comes to Medicare for all, health care, you know, the response there has been we need to write a big check, that when it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been we need to write a big check.”
“So if the issue is compensating descendants of slaves, I don’t think the argument about writing a big check ought to be the argument you make if you’re making the argument that a big check needs to be written for a whole bunch of other stuff,” Castro continued. “If, under the Constitution, we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property.”