Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDespite Senate setbacks, the fight for voting rights is far from over Small ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.J.), a 2020 White House hopeful, sharply criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE late Tuesday over comments the Kentucky Republican made concerning racism and reparations.
In an interview with CNN, Booker said that McConnell had no "understanding" of racial issues after he argued that reparations for slavery were unnecessary due to the progress made in race relations in recent years.
"Mitch McConnell doesn’t seem to even in any way there express an understanding of these issues, or, you know, the bill that I have in the Senate which would call people together to study this issue," Booker said, referring to a bill he authored that would establish a commission to examine the possibility of reparations for slavery.
"Dear God, there’s ... this has been a couple of years of my life for Mitch McConnell and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll We must do more to protect American Jews 6 in 10 say they would back someone other than Biden in 2024: Fox News poll MORE where things come out of their mouths where sometimes I have to just sometimes ... you know, have to take a step back for a second and gather myself," he added.
McConnell earlier Tuesday said that both he and the former president were "descendants of slaveholders," referring to a Baltimore Sun report in 2007 that found that two of Obama's ancestors had owned slaves.
"You know, I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama. We both oppose reparations, and we both are the descendants of slaveholders," McConnell said on Tuesday.
“We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president,” he added to reporters.
In June, McConnell previously expressed his opposition to reparations, claiming that "none of us currently living are responsible.”