Julian Castro, 44, hit back at fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, 77, over his position on reparations for the descendants of slaves during CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning.
Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and U. S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, brought up Sanders’ belief that the best way to repay African-Americans is not through writing check but through educational and financial programs.
“What he said… the other day was he didn’t think the best way to address this was for the United States to write a check,” the Texas native said.
In February, the Vermont senator received backlash for seemingly dodging a question about reparations while speaking at a CNN town hall moderated by Wolf Blitzer. A week later, he appeared on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, where he clarified his stance.
Sanders said he was against a payout and believed ending the racism within the banking system would help to end the wealth gap between the Black community and the White community.
He also appeared on ABC’s The View and stated there were “better ways” to repay African-American descendants of slaves. The 77-year-old said the plan should be to make all communities better to help America as a whole.
“I think that right now, 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,” Sanders told The View co-host Sunny Hostin.
Castro responded to his rival’s comments saying, “He didn’t think the best way to address this was for the United States to ‘write a check.’ To my mind, that may or may not be the best way to address it.”
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders said he was open to giving Medicare large sums of money and providing free college to citizens, which Castro called out.
“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 . . . when it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been we need to write a big check,” the 44-year-old said.
Castro also said if he were to become president, there would be reparations task force to figure out how to repay African-Americans who have been continually mistreated by American society.
“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,” He added in his response to Sanders. “If, under the Constitution, we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property?”
Other Democrats who have announced their bid for the 2020 presidency, including spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have said they are open to reparations for Black Americans who are descendants of slaves.