Beto O’Rourke says if he is elected president, he would support a House bill that would create a commission to study reparations to African Americans over slavery.

Speaking Wednesday at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention in New York, the Democratic presidential candidate said he would back a bill sponsored by fellow Texan Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

The comments are O’Rourke’s most detailed to date on the question of reparations for black Americans as a means to address centuries of slavery and legal discrimination.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Most 2020 candidates have been cautious on the topic, with some ruling out direct compensation to African Americans. O’Rourke did not say whether he backs direct payments to African Americans.

He is the first of a dozen presidential candidates addressing the convention.