War­ren asked about DNA test in first ques­tion at event in Iowa

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - NATION/WORLD -

El­iz­a­beth War­ren is mak­ing her first cam­paign tour around Iowa, a cru­cial state for the prob­a­ble 2020 com­peti­tor, but was quickly forced to ad­dress an is­sue that’s likely to hurt her in the race for the White House.

Dur­ing a Satur­day morn­ing event in Sioux City, au­di­ence mem­bers were given the chance to ask the Mas­sachusetts sen­a­tor ques­tions. The first? A query about her de­ci­sion to take a DNA test and re­lease the re­sults on her Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try.

“Why did you un­dergo the DNA test­ing and give Don­ald Trump more fod­der to be a bully?” an au­di­ence mem­ber asked the Demo­crat.

War­ren re­leased re­sults from the DNA test in Oc­to­ber, which showed “strong ev­i­dence” of Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try, par­tially in re­sponse to crit­i­cism from Republicans, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who nick­named her “Poc­a­hon­tas.” Con­ser­va­tives have at­tacked War­ren for claim­ing Chero­kee her­itage in or­der to gain fa­vor for jobs that helped boost her ca­reer, some­thing her former em­ploy­ers have said did not play a role in the hir­ing process.

The test re­sults were widely mocked be­cause they only showed that her Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try went back six to 10 gen­er­a­tions. The test, which showed she was at least 1/1024th Na­tive Amer­i­can, was also de­nounced by the Chero­kee na­tion that said us­ing “a DNA test to lay claim to any con­nec­tion to the Chero­kee Na­tion or any tribal na­tion, even vaguely, is inap­pro­pri­ate and wrong.”

Af­ter the ques­tion from the au­di­ence mem­ber, War­ren said that the test wasn’t meant to show any claim to a tribe and said she un­der­stood and re­spected the dif­fer­ence be­tween an­ces­try and tribal cit­i­zen­ship.

War­ren went on ex­plain­ing that when she ran for pub­lic of­fice for the first time in 2012, Republicans “honed in on this part of my his­tory” and made a lot of “racial slurs.”

“So my de­ci­sion was, I’m just go­ing to put it all out there,” War­ren said.

War­ren’s trip caps a week in which she took sig­nif­i­cant steps to for­mal­ize her 2020 ef­forts by launch­ing a pres­i­den­tial ex­ploratory com­mit­tee and hir­ing a team of vet­eran Iowa staffers.

Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren

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