Trump demands China pay $10 trillion of ‘reparations’ to US for damage caused by COVID-19

Trump speech
Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina

  • Trump demanded that China pay $10 trillion in “reparations” to the US during a speech on Saturday night.
  • The former president urged countries that owe money to China to cancel their debts as “down payment” on reparations.
  • He said that he blames China for the damage caused by COVID-19, and cited the lab-leak theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump has demanded that China pay “reparations” to the US for the damage caused by COVID-19, the Independent reported.

During his first public address in three months, Trump argued that China should have to pay up to $10 trillion to the US.

He also suggested that any country that owes money to China should cancel their debts as a “down payment” on reparations and that the US should put 100 percent tariffs on incoming Chinese goods, the Independent said.

“We demand reparations from the Communist Party of China. China must pay. They must pay,” the former president said during the speech.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Documents reveal how Trump is spending taxpayer money on his postpresidential offices – from printer toner to Stephen Miller’s salary

Trump once again expressed his belief that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese laboratory. “We had this horrible thing come in from China, we got that one right too, by the way, do you notice, you see what’s going on, it’s called the lab, that was an easy one, Wuhan,” he said.

As early as April 2020, Trump claimed that he had evidence showing that COVID-19 had originated from a lab in Wuhan. It was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

At the time, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence put out a statement saying that the US intelligence community agreed with the “wide scientific consensus” that the coronavirus was not “manmade or genetically modified,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported.

In recent weeks, however, the lab-leak theory has gained traction, Insider’s Tom Porter wrote in late May.

British spies have said that the thesis that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in China is “plausible,” The Sunday Times reported.

And President Joe Biden has asked the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” to determine the origins of the novel coronavirus and to search for an answer as to whether the Chinese government covered up a leak, Insider’s Erin Snodgrass said.

The idea that the coronavirus leaked from a lab hasn’t been totally ruled out, though a WHO report said it was unlikely, Insider’s Aylin Woodward reported.

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House committee approves a bill to study reparations for Black Americans for the first time since it was introduced 32 years ago

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex., who introduced H.R. 40, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Judiciary Committee chairman, at a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

  • A House committee approved a bill Wednesday to study reparations for descendants of enslaved people.
  • First introduced in 1989, the bill will now head to the full House for a vote for the first time.
  • The bill passed the committee without any Republican votes and faces an uphill battle in Congress.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would establish a commission to study providing Black Americans with reparations for slavery. The legislation will receive a full House vote for the first time since it was introduced more than three decades ago.

The legislation, H.R. 40, was first introduced in 1989, but Wednesday was the first time the House Judiciary Committee had voted on the legislation, The Associated Press reported.

The bill, which passed the committee despite opposition from Republicans, would establish a 13-person commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination in the US, and then submit its findings and recommend to Congress “appropriate remedies” for the descendants of enslaved Americans.

Read more: It’s now or never for Democrats: either pass H.R. 1 or watch voter suppression bills like Georgia’s become the norm

“This legislation is long overdue,” said Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the committee chairman, according to the AP. “H.R. 40 is intended to begin a national conversation about how to confront the brutal mistreatment of African Americans during chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the enduring structural racism that remains endemic to our society today.”

The bill was introduced by Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. No Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the bill, which is co-sponsored by 176 representatives, all Democrats.

In his criticism of the bill, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said it would “spend $20 million for a commission that’s already decided to take money from people who were never involved in the evil of slavery and give it to people who are never subject to the evil of slavery,” ABC reported.

The bill faces an uphill battle in Congress, especially in the Senate where it would require 60 votes in the 50-50 split chamber, AP reported.

Reparations gained renewed traction last year after a summer of protests against racial injustice. President Joe Biden has also said he supports Congress studying the issue. Andre Perry, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Insider’s Bre’Anna Grant that he’s “more hopeful than ever” for reparations since Biden took office.

Perry said that while “executive actions are rarely ever enough, they are a start to allocate and shift resources to address the issue.”

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Illinois could pay off up to $40,000 of your student loans to help you buy a house

House Sold
  • The Illinois SmartBuy program pays off up to $40,000 in student loans to help buyers buy a house.
  • The program also provides $5,000 to be used for a down payment or closing costs.
  • With house prices reaching record highs, the program may help increase home equity and affordability.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you live in Illinois and have outstanding student loans, the state could pay off some of your debt to help you buy a house.

The SmartBuy program, offered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, helps anyone who wants to buy a home in Illinois by paying off up to $40,000 in student debt, or a loan amount equal to 15% of the home purchase price. According to the Chicago Tribune, between the start of the program in December and early April, it has paid off an average of $24,100 in student debt for each buyer, and people from outside the state have even been inclined to move there to make use of the program.

“I’m getting a lot of interest,” Chanon Slaughter, a vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, told the Tribune. “I am getting folks literally saying, ‘I want to move back to Chicago for this program.'”

Along with paying off student loans, the program also provides $5,000 that can be used for a down payment or closing costs.

There are a few catches, though: A buyer’s outstanding student debt must be paid in full at the time of the home purchase, and if the buyer chooses to sell the house within three years of the purchase, they must repay a portion of the student loan assistance. The other catch is that Illinois has allocated $25 million to the program, so it’s only expected to help between 600 and 1,000 homebuyers.

Here are the program’s eligibility requirements, according to its website:

  • The buyer must have at least $1,000 in student loans;
  • The buyer’s FICO “mid-score” must be 640 or higher;
  • The buyer’s income must be under or at the limits for the county where the property is located, which can be found on the IHDA mortgage website;
  • And the assistance cannot be applied retroactively – the buyer must be buying a new primary residence.

This program has the potential to tackle two simultaneous affordability crises – the $1.7 trillion pile of student debt and the skyrocketing price of the median house since the housing market reopened during the pandemic, exacerbated by a serious inventory shortage. It isn’t the only experimental economic program being offered in Illinois, either. Evanston, a city in Illinois, approved spending on March 22 for a $10 million reparations fund that compensated Black residents through $25,000 housing grants.

Insider previously reported that the average home sale price hit a record high March, and the spiking housing costs have concerned housing experts, like Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather, who said in a statement that they could be putting homeownership out of reach for too many Americans.

“That means a future in which most Americans will not have the opportunity to build wealth through home equity, which will worsen inequality in our society,” Fairweather said.

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‘Slavery ended over 130 years ago:’ Former NFL player Herschel Walker says Black Americans shouldn’t get reparations

Herschel Walker
Former NFL player Herschel Walker.

  • Herschel Walker said during a US House hearing that Black Americans should not receive reparations.
  • “Reparations teach separation,” Walker argued. “Slavery ended over 130 years ago.”
  • The Democratic-led House is poised to create a commission to study reparation proposals.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former NFL player Herschel Walker last Wednesday said that Black Americans should not receive reparations for slavery during a congressional hearing on the issue. 

The virtual hearing was being held for House Resolution 40, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, which would create a commission to study reparation proposals.

Walker, a standout athlete at the University of Georgia who won the Heisman Trophy in 1982 before launching a longtime professional football career, said that reparations could force Black Americans to use genetics companies to determine payouts based on their ancestry and while also claiming that some Black Americans had involvement in the slave trade.

“We use Black power to create white guilt,” he argued. “My approach is biblical…how can I ask my Heavenly Father to forgive me if I can’t forgive my brother? America is the greatest country in the world for me, a melting pot of a lot of great races, a lot of great minds that have come together with different ideas to make Americans the greatest country on Earth.”

He added: “Many have died trying to get into America. No one is dying trying to get out.”

Walker, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump and a featured speaker at the 2020 Republican National Convention, then launched into the practicality of making reparation payments.

“Reparations, where does the money come from?,” he asked the House Judiciary Committee subcommittee. “Does it come from all the other races except the Black taxpayers? Who is Black? What percentage of Black must you be to receive reparations? Do you go to 23andMe or a DNA test to determine the percentage of blackness? Some Black immigrants weren’t here during slavery, nor their ancestors. Some states didn’t even have slavery.”

He added: “Reparations teach separation. Slavery ended over 130 years ago. How can a father ask his son to spend prison time for a crime he committed? I feel it continues to let us know we’re still African American, rather than just American. Reparation or atonement is outside the teaching of Jesus Christ.”

Reparations have been part of the national dialogue for years, with supporters arguing that the United States has never atoned for the forced labor of slavery and lands taken away from Black Americans over the course of generations.

The author Ta-Nehisi Coates explored the idea in “The Case for Reparations,” his 2014 article for The Atlantic, which urged the country to confront its past.

“An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane,” he wrote. “An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.”

The issue became a focal line of questioning for Democratic candidates as they started to enter into the 2020 presidential race, especially with Black Americans serving as a bedrock of the party.

After the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, which launched a wave of racial and social justice reckonings across the country, the issue became even more prominent during a summer when the Black Lives Matter movement and other racial equity movements reached a societal apex.

The Review of Black Political Economy estimated that a reparations package that sufficiently addresses past injustices would cost roughly $12 trillion and give each descendant of slavery $254,782.

Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York said that there’s a possibility that reparations might not involve financial payments, but argued that the proposal “sets forth a process by which a diverse group of experts and stakeholders can study the complex issues involved and make recommendations.”

“The discussion of reparations is a journey in which the road traveled is almost more important than the exact destination,” he added.

The White House said last week that President Joe Biden would back a study of the issue.

“He certainly would support a study of reparations,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “He understands we don’t need a study to take action right now on systemic racism, so he wants to take actions within his own government in the meantime.”

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