POLITICS
03/10/2019 14:59 EDT | Updated 03/10/2019 15:37 EDT

Julian Castro Calls Out Bernie Sanders Over Reparations Skepticism

"Why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property?” the former HUD secretary asked of his fellow 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro on Sunday skewered Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over his claim that there are better ways to compensate descendants of slaves than by “writing out a check.”

Castro suggested during an interview with CNN’s “State of The Union” that Sanders’ argument against reparations didn’t quite add up. 

“Right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities,” Sanders said Friday during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.” “And I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”

Castro argued that his fellow presidential hopeful often tries to solve problems by writing a “big check” and questioned why Sanders would refuse to do so in the case of reparations.

“It’s interesting to me, when it comes to Medicare for all, health care, you know, the response there has been we need to write a big check,” Castro said. “That when it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been we need to write a big check.”

“If under the Constitution, we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property?” he added.

Castro, who was one the first Democrats to announce he would run for president in 2020, declined to commit to reparations if elected but said he would appoint a commissioner task force to determine if that was the best way forward. 

“I’ve long believed that this country should address slavery, the original sin of slavery, including by looking at reparations,” he said.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have also expressed support for reparations, and Warren has said she believes Native Americans should be included in such a proposal.