All Living Presidents Are Descendants Of Slaveholders — Except Trump: Study

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Over 100 U.S. political leaders have ancestors who were slaveholders, according to a new report.

A Reuters examination into the genealogies of America's leaders found that a fifth of members of Congress, living presidents, Supreme Court justices, and governors are direct descendants of ancestors who enslaved Black people.

According to Reuters, at least 100 of the 536 members of the last sitting Congress descend from slaveholders. In the last sitting Senate, specifically, more than a quarter can trace their families to at least one slaveholder.

Descendants of slaveholders are found among both parties in Congress. They include some of the nation's most influential politicians such as Republicans Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Tom Cotton, and Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, and Jeanne Shaheen.

The report also determined that President Joe Biden and every living former U.S. president, with the exception of Donald Trump, are direct descendants of slaveholders. Former President Barack Obama has direct familial ties to slaveholders through his white mother, according to Reuters. Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch also have direct ancestors who enslaved people.

According to Reuters, 11 of the 50 U.S. governors in 2022 were descendants of slaveholders.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., a well-renowned African and African American researcher, said the study highlights America's continued ties to slavery, including through the “people who make the laws that govern our country.

Gates said spotlighting familial connections to slaveholders is “not another chapter in the blame game. We do not inherit guilt for our ancestors’ actions. It’s just to say: Look at how closely linked we are to the institution of slavery, and how it informed the lives of the ancestors of people who represent us in the United States Congress today."

“This is a learning opportunity for each individual. It is also a learning opportunity for their constituency … and for the American people as a whole,” he added.

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