It turns out Bill O'Reilly has a glass half full approach when it comes to slavery. The TV host told his audience that slaves were well-fed and led a pretty cushy life.
He made the comments in the wake of Michelle Obama's speech, where she claimed that the White House was built by slaves.
According to Politico, on Tuesday, O'Reilly said,
Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. In addition, free blacks, whites and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here.
Controversial, Bill. Very controversial.
People didn't take too kindly to his comments:
Was the White House actually built by slaves?
Officials had initially planned to import workers from Europe to help with the construction of the White House in 1792.
But, according to The White House History Association, the recruitment response was terrible. So, both enslaved and free African Americans were enlisted instead.
They carried out the majority of the labor on both the White House and United States Capitol building.
Enslaved people had the worst job. They were trained by stonemason Collen Williamson to cut stone at a quarry in Virginia. This was used for the walls of the president's house, and was laid by Scottish workers.
In the end, the White House was built through a combined effort from slaves, free African Americans, white Americans who came over from neighboring states and Scottish and Irish laborers.
So, in conclusion, slaves are not solely responsible for building the White House. But there is truth to Obama's powerful statement.
Politifact, the political fact-checker website, rated it as "true."