PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would apologize for slavery in America if he’s elected.

Sanders would be the first U.S. president ever to formally apologize for slavery. Former President Bill Clinton traveled to Africa and apologized for the slave trade, but not for the legal holding of slaves on American soil.

The event was billed as a conversation with members of Black Lives Matter, though Al Dia reports about two-thirds of the crowd that showed up at a black church in south Philadelphia on Wednesday was white.

Sanders said it was long past time a U.S. president recognized the atrocities committed against black slaves prior to the Civil War.

“An American president has yet to muster up the courage to formally apologize for the 400 heinous years of rape, death and inhumanity that occurred during the enslavement of black people in this country that still impacts millions of slave descendants,” an audience member told Sanders. The person then asked Sanders point-blank whether he would apologize.

“Want the short answer?” Sanders asked in response. “Yes.”

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