Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was asked Thursday what she thought about the national conversation regarding reparations for slavery and whether there should be a national apology for slavery.
“I do think that there have been a lot of past harms done out there and a lot of injury to a lot of different groups, so it’s a pretty darn complicated issue,” Ernst said.
Ernst said as a whole the U.S. is anti-slavery and she believes it is an important message that needs to be sent to the world.
“We as a nation, we have continued to evolve through the years,” she said.
America is headed in the “right direction,” she added.
“We need to reinforce that we are a very compassionate nation,” Ernst said. “There was injury and harm and horrible, horrible atrocities in our past. We have to acknowledge that and move forward. it is a complicated issue and I know that there will be many more discussions moving forward.”
She said she has not delved into the issue as she’s focused on “a lot of the issues facing our nation today.”
“I just need to emphasize that this is a very complicated, complex issue,” Ernst said. “While I would say I am most certainly anti-slavery, that discussion is something that probably will move forward.
“We can send a message as the United States of America that we do not tolerate slavery, we do not tolerate those kinds of atrocities. The discussions will continue, but we need to be focusing very much on what’s going around our world today. We have other nations that still engage in that type of warfare and slavery and we want to send a signal that that’s not OK, but we do need to focus on issues at hand — things like Iran, things like RFS — things that are really effecting our constituents today.”