The report, which detailed the ancestry of America’s political leaders, including members of the 117th Congress, found that Presidents Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all come from families with ties to slavery.
Two Supreme Court justices, 11 governors, and 100 members of Congress are similarly descended from slave-holding ancestors.
Obama’s mother’s side reportedly owned black slaves.
Meanwhile, Trump’s family did not immigrate to the U.S. until slavery had already been abolished.
The report comes amidst a debate over reparations to black Americans descended from enslaved families. California was the first state to establish a commission to study the idea, with the result being a massive $800 billion cash payment proposal.
However, the proposal has proven too extreme for even Democrats. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has refused to publicly back cash payments.
“Dealing with that legacy [of slavery] is about much more than cash payments,” Newsom said, though a spokesperson later clarified that the governor was “not ruling anything out.”
Even some members of the California Reparations Task Force have acknowledged the need to be “realistic.”
“I’m not going to sit here and make the promise that everybody’s going to get a check,” said state Sen. Steven Bradford, one of the task force members. “I want people to have a broader view on what reparations could be and a greater acceptance that it might take a little time.”
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a former state senator who helped pass the law establishing the task force in the first place, admitted that cash payments are likely unfeasible. “Because now you’re talking resources, now you’re talking investment,” she said.
Weber also admitted that giving people money may not be the best way to help them improve their lives.
“If we say that the health disparity in this country is great and every black person gets $5,000, will that change the health disparities in California? Probably not,” she said.