A lot of deplorable things were said during the Republican debate on Wednesday night, but this comment from Republican candidate Tim Scott may take the cake.
During the debate Scott argued that welfare assistance was harder than slavery for Black Americans.
“Black families survived slavery!” he exclaimed. “We survived poll taxes and literacy tests.”
“We survived discrimination being woven into the laws of our country,” he added, in a line that for a moment sounded like he might actually be acknowledging systemic racism.
“What was hard to survive was Johnson’s Great Society, where they decided to put money—where they decided to take the Black father out of the household to get a check in the mail.”
Johnson’s Great Society, launched in 1964, was one of the most significant federal social welfare programs in U.S. history. It greatly expanded welfare policy by writing Medicare and Medicaid into U.S. law, increasing Social Security benefits, and generally expanding assistance to the elderly and the poor.
That Scott had harsher words for welfare assistance than for slavery is not just an overt ahistorical reach. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.