Every Living Former U.S. President, Except Donald Trump, Direct Descendants of Slaveholders Including Biden and Obama
A Reuters investigation into the genealogies of America’s leading political figures reveals a legacy of slavery in the nation’s corridors of power.
A staggering fifth of the country’s lawmakers, living presidents, Supreme Court justices, and governors can directly trace their lineage back to ancestors who enslaved Black people.
This finding includes Joe Biden and every living former U.S. president, with the single exception of President Donald Trump, are direct descendants of individuals who once enslaved Black people.
According to Reuters, the list includes former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and – Barack Obama through his white mother’s lineage. Trump’s family immigrated to the U.S. after the abolition of slavery.
Connections to slavery also reach to the highest court in the nation, with two out of nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices – Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch – being direct descendants of slaveholders.
The Reuters investigation also found that the governors of 11 out of 50 U.S. states in 2022 were direct descendants of slaveholders. Strikingly, eight of these governors held office in the 11 states that once formed the Confederate States of America.
In a comprehensive examination of 536 members of the most recent sitting Congress, Reuters has found that at least 100 are the descendants of slaveholders. A significant proportion of these belongs to the Senate, with 28 members – more than a quarter of the Senate – able to draw direct links to at least one slaveholding ancestor.
These connections to slavery span party lines, with prominent Democrats and Republicans alike counted among this group.
Figures include Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham as well as Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Jeanne Shaheen, and Maggie Hassan from the 117th Congress.