Mitch McConnell

Ta-Nehisi Coates rips into McConnell for slavery comments, says Biden "shouldn't be president"

At the first House hearing on reparations in 12 years, author Ta-Nehisi Coates sharply criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for claiming on Tuesday that "no one currently alive was responsible" for slavery, and that the country has tried to make amends through civil rights legislation and electing a black president.

Catch up quick: Also on Tuesday, Joe Biden received harsh criticism for nostalgically recollecting the "civil" relationships he had with segregationist senators in the 1970s and '80s. Coates condemned the 2020 candidate in an interview on Wednesday with Democracy Now, saying: "Joe Biden shouldn't be president ... The fact of the matter is Joe Biden owes his very presence in the race right now to the first black president Barack Obama."

Biden's race backlash

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

On his 3rd presidential campaign, and the 154th anniversary of Juneteenth, the scrutiny has never seemed higher for Joe Biden's history on race.

The big picture: Biden has served in public office for decades — and uses that experience to argue for his candidacy — but his Senate tenure in the 1970s and 80s increasingly looks like it could be a liability.