Sen. Bernie Sanders said that the U.S. should apologize for slavery in a radio interview Wednesday.
"As a nation, we have got to apologize for slavery," the presidential hopeful told SiriusXM host Joe Madison. "And of course, the President is the leader of the nation."
"Obviously nobody in this generation, you know, was involved in slavery, but as a nation, slavery is one of the abominations that our country has experienced," Sanders said. "There's no excuse… It was horrific, it killed millions of people who never made it even across the oceans, and it destroyed just the lives of so many people."
The U.S. government has never formally apologized for the most brutal institution in American history. Congressional resolutions apologizing for slavery were passed separately by the House of Representatives in 2008 and the Senate in 2009. But the two bills "were never reconciled or signed by the President," The Atlantic noted.
Bill Clinton apologized for the slave trade during a 1998 visit to Uganda. "Going back to the time before we were even a nation, European-Americans received the fruits of the slave trade, and we were wrong in that," he said—a bland statement but one that angered Republican leaders back home nonetheless.
The Sanders comment was first noted by Real Clear Politics. We've reached out to his campaign for further clarification and will update if we hear back.
Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.