Liz trots out claim on familiar trail
Defense of Native American status comes campaign-tested
With an eye toward 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday tried to head off the ongoing controversy surrounding her claim of Native American ancestry instead of running from it — the way she did when the Herald first pressed her on the issue in 2012.
But let’s be clear — the presidential campaign trail-ready speech she delivered before the National Congress of American Indians contained nothing new. In fact, much of it is straight from her 2012 playbook.
“I get why some people think there’s hay to be made here. You won’t find my family members on any rolls, and I’m not enrolled in a tribe,” Warren admitted, much as she did in 2012. And just as in 2012, yesterday she failed to produce any proof of her Cherokee heritage claim.
“I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career,” she added, which was something we heard many times during her nascent Senate campaign — despite having listed herself as a minority in professional directories.
Warren again leaned on her parents’ backstory.
Her lovesick folks had to elope, she said, because, “my mother’s family was part Native American. And my daddy’s parents were bitterly opposed to their relationship.”
And in another 2012 flashback, Warren blamed her Republican opponent for making her heritage claim an issue.
“They’re gone,” Warren said of her parents, “but the love they shared, the struggles they endured, the family they built, and the story they lived will always be a part of me. And no one — not even the president of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.”
Trump, who dismissively calls Warren “Pocahontas,” got off easy compared to former
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who Warren accused of calling her dead parents liars. What was missing from Warren’s repackaged address was accountability for listing herself as a minority in a top law directory for nearly a decade, despite admitting she’s “not enrolled in any tribe.” She added, “And I want to make something clear. I respect that distinction. I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes — and only by tribes.”
With that in mind, Warren should speak out about Harvard University’s decision to list her in federal affirmative action forms as Native American.
Warren vowed yesterday to champion Native American issues going forward. She could start by acknowledging her own unproven, misguided minority claim.