Beto O’Rourke Flip Flops on Reparations, Tells Sharpton He’d Sign Jackson Lee Bill

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion | 4/4/2019 | Stacey Matthews
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It’s “Al Sharpton Primary” week in New York City, and many of the 2020 Democratic candidates for president have lined up to kiss the reverend’s ring at the annual National Action Network convention.

One in particular is Beto O’Rourke, failed candidate for U.S. Senate. In a flip flop from his earlier positions on the reparations issue, the former El Paso Congressman told the crowd in attendance Wednesday he’d be on board with signing a proposed reparations bill:

Candidate - Beto - O'Rourke - Wednesday - Opposition

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke appeared Wednesday to back off his initial opposition to slavery reparations, saying he would support a bill in Congress to study and consider the payments.

Asked by Sharpton if he would back a measure introduced by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a fellow Texan, O’Rourke answered, “absolutely I would sign that into law.”

Comments - O'Rourke - Shift - Issue - White

The comments by O’Rourke represent an apparent shift on the issue for the White House contender.

Campaigning in Iowa last month, O’Rourke indicated he was not in favor of traditional reparations but stressed that it was crucial for the nation to confront the truth of how black people have been treated in America and that systematic racism exists in the country.

Days - New - Hampshire - O'Rourke - Reparations

And a few days later, campaigning in New Hampshire, O’Rourke said: “I don’t believe… that [reparations] should be the primary or initial focus of the conversation.”

He explained his newfound support at the convention by dissecting the word “reparations” and suggesting that Americans don’t fully understand what the civil rights movement is about:

O'Rourke - Issue - Brian - Stevenson - Director

Later, O’Rourke said that he’d discussed the issue with Brian Stevenson, the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. “Foundational to reparations is the word repair, foundational to repair is the truth,” O’Rourke said.

“Until all Americans understand that civil rights” also involves “the injustices that have been visited and continue to be visited on people, we will never get...
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