RFK Jr. comes out for reparations, carving out lane to Biden’s left

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. supports issuing reparations to the black community, making him the most prominent 2024 candidate to favor the controversial policy meant to atone for slavery and legal segregation.

President Biden has largely been silent on the issue, leading to frustration among the far left.

Kennedy — who ditched his Democratic primary challenge to Biden earlier this month — has spoken out in favor of issuing federal dollars to “rebuild black infrastructure” like banks and businesses, and as well as “direct redress payments or tax credits” rather than no-strings cash giveaways.

“Communities that were specifically targeted for destruction need to be specifically targeted for repair,” he states on his campaign website.

“During Jim Crow, Black banks, businesses, hospitals, schools, and farms were targeted for destruction. Racists knew that without these, the Black community had no chance of building wealth. We must set federal dollars aside to rebuild Black infrastructure.”

Robert F Kennedy Jr. announces his entry to the 2024 presidential race as an independent candidate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A large crowd of protesters wearing masks and carrying signs that say, “Reparations Now” as they walk through neighborhoods at the Black Lives Matter protest in Bayside, Queens in August 2020.
Corbis via Getty Images
RFK Jr. has said he would be against direct cash payments.

“These programs complement direct redress payments or tax credits to the descendants of the victims of Jim Crow and other victims of persecution,” the pledge continues. “RFK Jr. will find ways to offer this redress that are legal, fair, and win the approval of Americans of all races.”

Kennedy has also said he supports establishing development projects like the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, which his father helped found in 1967 along with then-Mayor John Lindsay, and then-Sen. Jacob Javits.

Those actions are “less likely to contribute to polarization between blacks and whites because it benefits everybody. Everybody, even people who are Trumpers … everybody wants business to work and to flourish,” Kennedy Jr. told YouTuber Math Hoffa in a July interview.

The 69-year-old son of the late attorney general and senator from New York has courted traditional Republican and Democratic voters, raising concerns the environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist may take votes away from both major party nominees next November.

Biden has faced pressure from activist groups and Democratic members of Congress to issue an executive order on reparations amid congressional gridlock. The White House has maintained that the president supports a “study” into reparations, but has not specifically said whether he would sign a reparations bill.

Far-left independent candidate Cornel West, who some Democrats are worried will steal votes away from Biden, also states that he supports reparations.

West’s platform includes plans to issue a directive to complete “the reparations process and findings within two years so checks can be cut and sent to eligible recipients,” and a call to “push Congress to pass filibuster-proof budget reconciliation for reparations and Land Back provisions.”

RFK Jr.’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about specifics of his plan.

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