Warren turning Trump’s jibes into minority retort
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted President Trump’s repeated use of a slur to refer to her claim of American Indian ancestry yesterday while Republicans doubled down, ensuring the issue will loom over her future campaigns.
“I’ve noticed that every time my name comes up, President Trump likes to talk about Pocahontas. So I figured, let’s talk about Pocahontas,” Warren said in an unannounced address to the National Congress of American Indians in Washington yesterday.
Warren accused Trump of “reducing native history, native culture, native people to the butt of a joke,” referring to a White House event honoring Native American veterans during which Trump called Warren “Pocahontas.”
Trump has repeatedly used the name to mock Warren’s claim of Cherokee heritage, and Republicans have charged her with using it for professional gain — an accusation she flatly denied yesterday. Warren listed herself as a minority in a national law school directory in the 1980s and ‘90s, and was claimed as a Native American by Harvard University. Genealogists found no conclusive evidence to support her claim.
“I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career,” Warren said, telling the crowd that her mother’s Cherokee ancestry led her parents to elope because of her father’s family’s disapproval.
“So I’m here today to make a promise: Every time someone brings up my family’s story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities,” Warren said.
“This is all about 2020 and Sen. Warren’s presidential ambitions,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “She knows that the 2020 Democratic presidential primary will likely resemble the Hunger Games and she is being proactive about her political blind spots.”
Warren’s statement did nothing to quell Republican criticism.
“She failed to apologize to the actual Native Americans in the audience and continued to insist that she really is a Native American, despite the long list of evidence that indicates otherwise,” said Mike Reed, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which Tuesday referred to Warren as “Fauxcahontas,”
But Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag
Tribe of Gay
Head, who introduced Warren at the event, told the Herald that Warren has been a strong advocate of tribal communities, and compared GOP attacks to birtherism against former President Barack Obama.
“Sen. Warren isn’t claiming she’s an enrolled member of the tribe,” AndrewsMaltais said. “But you cannot disclaim your heritage.”
MOCK DEBATE: Bay State U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the National Congress of American Indians yesterday she’ll use President Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ jibes to ‘lift up the story of your families and your communities.’