CNN anchor Don Lemon took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday night, arguing his opposition to the idea of reparations was "simple-minded and stupid."
Ahead of the hearing on reparations, which took place on Wednesday and was attended by major figures like Sen. Cory Booker, actor Danny Glover, and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, McConnell said that "no one currently alive" was responsible for slavery, and that he did not feel reparations are a "good idea."
He went on to say that the government attempted to undo the "original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, bypassing landmark civil rights legislation, and electing an African-American president.”
While discussing McConnell's argument on Tuesday, Lemon took issue with McConnell's comments.
"To say no one is alive is dealing with that, ok, that’s an argument, that's an excuse a lot of people use," Lemon said. But no one minds taking advantage of the benefits they got from slavery and from Jim Crow.
"Maybe you should give back some of your wealth. Maybe you should give back your grandfather’s college degree, your great, great grandfather’s land that you were given," he continued. "People weren’t there, but people reaped the benefits from it and that is the whole point of the matter.
Although Affirmative Action and other such legislation has attempted to address the inequalities faced by African-Americans, it is not the same thing as an offering of reparations, Lemon argued.
"Social programs are not reparations. [McConnell] is conflating the two and again misleading the American people as has so often been done, especially within the last couple of years," he said.
"His argument is simple-minded, it’s stupid. I would say it’s -- it comes from a position of privilege and probably one of bigotry as well," he concluded.
The hearing on Wednesday is discussing HR40, a bill which seeks to create the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans. It is taking place on the date of "Juneteenth," which is celebrated annually to commemorate the day the abolishment of slavery was announced in Texas, and, more broadly, the freedom of slaves nationwide.