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After Opposing ‘Traditional Reparations,’ Beto O’Rourke Now Says He’d Sign Reparations Commission Bill

Former Texas Congressman and current Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has changed his position on reparations, telling Rev. Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network (NAN) convention that he would “absolutely” sign a bill creating a commission on reparations were he elected president.

O’Rourke delivered remarks at the NAN convention on Wednesday, after which Sharpton said “Your fellow Texan, Sheila Jackson Lee, has proposed a commission to study reparations,” then asked “If that passes, and you are present of the United States, would you sign that bill?”

Rev. Sharpton is referring to HR 40,  a bill which would create a commission on reparations that would include determining how “any form of compensation to the descendants of enslaved African is calculated,” and “What form of compensation should be awarded, through what instrumentalities and who should be eligible for such compensation.”

“Yes,” O’Rourke replied, adding “And I appreciate the woman who asked me to say yes or no.”

“I had a chance to speak with, and just listen to and learn from, Bryan Stevenson in Montgomery Alabama, and learn from his work on working with the community to build a memorial to Justice and to peace,” O’Rourke continued. “And he said foundational to reparations is the word ‘repair,’ foundational to repair is the truth, and until all Americans understand that civil rights are not just those victories that I began with at the outset of my comments, but the injustices that have been visited, and continue to be visited on people, we will never get the change that we need to live up to the promise of this country.”

“So, absolutely I would sign that into law,” he concluded.

Just a few weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that O’Rourke said he did not support what the wire service called “traditional reparations,” and when a voter confronted O’Rourke about that report, the candidate did not deny it.

Instead, he delivered a lengthy response that also cited Stevenson, but which did not include support for HR 40, or for direct compensation of American Descendants of Slavery.

Watch the clip above, via Now This.

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