Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a few controversial remarks during a recent appearance at the University of Louisville. While speaking, McConnell said that he considers the "important points" in U.S. history were the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
“I think this is about American history and the most important dates in American history. And my view — and I think most Americans think — dates like 1776, the Declaration of Independence; 1787, the Constitution; 1861-1865, the Civil War, are sort of the basic tenets of American history,” McConnell said.
As he spoke, McConnell was pushed to include the year 1619 in his list of important dates. As documented by historians, 1619 is known as the year that enslaved people were first brought into America.
“There are a lot of exotic notions about what are the most important points in American history. I simply disagree with the notion that The New York Times laid out there that the year 1619 was one of those years," McConnell said.
“I think that issue that we all are concerned about — racial discrimination — it was our original sin. We’ve been working for 200-and-some-odd years to get past it...We’re still working on it, and I just simply don’t think that’s part of the core underpinning of what American civic education ought to be about.”
McConnell's mention of The New York Times referred to the news outlet's award-winning 1619 Project. McConnell, former President Donald Trump and several other prominent Republicans have criticized the critically acclaimed project about racial discrimination in American history. Despite criticisms from Republican lawmakers, the New York Times stands by its product.
“It deepened many readers’ understanding of the nation’s past and forced an important conversation about the lingering impact of slavery, and its centrality to the American story, a spokesperson for the New York Times stated.
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