Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana and current House speaker, opposes reparations for slavery, citing the burden on current taxpayers for the sins of past generations.
He shared his personal story of adopting an African American son and highlighted his family’s connection to slavery, with at least three direct ancestors being slaveholders.
Johnson said he opposed pulling money “from current taxpayers for the sins of a small subset of Americans from many generations ago.” (Trending: Prominent LGBTQ Activist Arrested Over Disturbing Charges)
“I actually have a much older son who happens to be African American,” Johnson said.
Johnson and his wife “took custody of Michael and made him part of our family 22 years ago when we were just newlyweds, and Michael was just 14 and out on the streets and nowhere to go and on a very dangerous path.
A Reuters review revealed similar ancestral ties among other influential politicians, including President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and two Supreme Court justices.
Johnson’s adopted son, Michael, expressed opposition to reparations, and Johnson has publicly referenced him in discussions about racial discrimination.
The debate on reparations remains divisive, with a Reuters/Ipsos survey showing differing views among Democrats and Republicans, as well as between Black and white Americans.
Johnson’s spokesperson, Taylor Haulsee, said “As has been well-documented, the horrific legacy of slavery touches the ancestry of political leaders across the spectrum, including Presidents Biden and Obama.”
“But the actions of people who lived hundreds of years ago do not have any bearing on the Speaker’s lifelong work for a colorblind society.”
“If the Johnsons hadn’t taken me in as a teenager, my life would look very different today. I would probably be in prison or I might not have made it at all.” Johnson’s adopted son said.
“I always felt loved like I was a part of their family.”
“The reality is — and no one can tell me otherwise — my son Michael had a harder time than my son Jack is going to have simply because of the color of his skin,” Johnson said.
“And that’s a reality. It’s an uncomfortable, painful one to acknowledge, but people have to recognize that’s a fact.”