Presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke proposed a new start date for America’s founding during Thursday’s Democratic debate.
“We can mark the creation of this country not at the 4th of July, 1776, but Aug. 20, 1619, when the first kidnapped African was brought to this country against his will,” O’Rourke said.
The candidate’s comments come in the wake of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which seeks to reframe the American founding around the arrival of the first slaves in Virginia.
“Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational,” O’Rourke claimed.
Beto O’Rourke: “Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country not at the 4th of July, 1776, but August 20, 1619, when the first kidnapped African was brought to this country against his will.”https://t.co/INdRXlIwFs #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/H6WvyxtL0K
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
The former congressman went on to address the country’s “systemic” racism, claiming that America’s original sin of slavery still affects African-Americans in a variety of ways in 2019.
“We have to be able to answer this challenge [of racism]. And it is found in our education system … in our health care system … or the fact that there is ten times the wealth in white America than there is in black America.”
“I’m gonna follow Sheila Jackson Lee’s lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundations.”
The 2020 hopeful was referencing his fellow Texas Democrat’s House legislation that would establish a “commission” to consider reparations.
But O’Rourke did not just blame America for racism.
His real focus was President Donald Trump.
“We will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country.”
O’Rourke’s Thursday comments did not mark the first time he had accused Trump of holding racist views.
In August, the former congressman told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he believes the president is a white nationalist.
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