Gavin Newsom Backtracks: Open to Cash Reparations for Slavery, After All

Gavin Newsom (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) now says he is open to the idea of cash reparations for slavery, after he indicated several days ago he was opposed to the idea, which was recommended by his own task force on the issue.

As Breitbart News reported:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) backed away Tuesday from the idea of paying reparations to descendants of slaves, after a state panel he signed into law calculated the state was liable for hundreds of billions of dollars.

Newsom signed a law in 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, establishing a reparations task force to examine whether California, a free state since its inception in 1850, owed money for slavery.

The committee, composed predominantly of black members, held hearings throughout the state and concluded that California owed black residents $1.2 million each — though it limited eligibility to descendants of slaves.

Fox News Digital reported that Newsom was declining to back the committee’s forthcoming recommendations, saying that confronting the legacy of slavery “is about much more than cash payments.”

Reparations California (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Morris Griffin holds up a sign during a meeting by the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Now, however, after a predictable media storm and backlash from the black activists whose hopes he had raised with the reparations task force, Newsom is moving back in the opposite direction. The Sacramento Bee reports:

A spokesperson for Newsom clarified his comments in an email statement to The Bee.

“The sensationalized framing in pieces published by outlets like Fox News and others is inaccurate. The Governor looks forward to reviewing the final report — and all recommendations — when complete.”

Newsom’s chief communication advisor, Anthony York said that Newsom is not backing away from cash payments, but wants to wait for the report in its entirety to arrive on his desk before he makes any decision.

The committee’s other, non-cash recommendations include overriding the will of the voters and repealing the law that prevents California from using race-based policies, such as affirmative action, in state actions.

It is not clear how California would pay cash reparations. Newsom has seen a $100 billion budget surplus turn into a $32 billion deficit this year, and cities like San Francisco, which is also pursuing reparations, face similar problems.

Teachers in Oakland recently went on strike to demand that the school district provide reparations to black students in the district. The district has, thus far, agreed to create a reparations task force.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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