TRUMP: ‘I owe her? She owes the country an apology. What’s the percentage, 1/1000th?’
(Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times) After years of enduring “Pocahontas” jibes from President Trump, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has gone on offense, trying to turn their scrap over her ancestry claims into a weapon as she prepares up for a possible presidential run against him.
But the tribe she claims is part of her heritage slammed her efforts to validate her minority status.
Cherokee Nation responds to release of Senator Warren’s DNA test. pic.twitter.com/UUB8LSvmyo
— CherokeeNation (@CherokeeNation) October 15, 2018
On Monday, the Massachusetts Democrat released DNA test results showing that she probably has trace Native American heritage and a stinging video in which her brothers defend the family lore.
The Cherokee Nation criticized Warren, who is not enrolled in a tribe, saying in a statement that she is “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
The DNA results showed her Native American ancestry to be from 1/32nd to 1/1024th, depending on how many generations it went back — a level that is likely to keep the controversy festering among Warren’s detractors, as Trump showed.
DNA tests for Native ancestry tend to be less accurate than for other groups because of relatively limited data from Native populations.
On Monday Warren also demanded that Trump now make good on his suggestion he’d pay $1 million to charity if she took the test.
While Trump’s offer was never firm — he joked at a summer rally that if Warren ran for president, he would toss her a DNA test kit at a debate and donate to the charity of her choice if she took it — her attempt to call his bluff with acerbic Twitter posts shows her intention to match his attention-grabbing theatrics.
On Tuesday Trump mocked Warren again over the Cherokees’ disavowal of her.
Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed. She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American. Now Cherokee Nation denies her, “DNA test is useless.” Even they don’t want her. Phony!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Warren’s latest tack reflects a belief among some Democrats that the best defense against Trump is an aggressive counteroffensive, showing how the former reality TV star has reset the terms of engagement. More particularly, it demonstrates the extent to which Warren has started pursuing her 2020 agenda, even as many Democrats want to keep the focus on next month’s elections, with control of Congress and governors’ offices at stake.
“Trump can say whatever he wants about me, but mocking Native Americans or any group in order to try to get at me, that’s not what America stands for,” Warren says in the video, which includes Trump calling her “Pocahontas” — a name that tribal groups have said is racist — and a Trump surrogate at a rally patting his hand against his mouth in a mock Indian war whoop.
Warren, who had resisted requests for a DNA test since the heritage issue surfaced in her 2012 Senate race, said Monday on Twitter that she wants Trump’s donation to go to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.
Trump denied making the $1 million offer and dismissed Warren’s test with a “Who cares?” As he has before, he said he wants to face her in his re-election campaign.
The president later denied he owes Warren an apology: “I owe her? She owes the country an apology. What’s the percentage, 1/1000th?”
Now that her claims of being of Indian heritage have turned out to be a scam and a lie, Elizabeth Warren should apologize for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public. Harvard called her “a person of color” (amazing con), and would not have taken her otherwise!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Warren’s efforts to reclaim her past, and to showcase her drive, accelerated in recent months as she’s made other moves toward running for president.
Late last month, just before announcing that she would take a “hard look at running for president,” Warren returned to her high school in Oklahoma City to deliver her first public speech in her hometown since she was elected to the Senate. Her theme was a familiar one about fighting villains: billionaires, giant corporations, hungry politicians and their rigged system.
Warren’s modest upbringing among Oklahoma’s oil derricks and rural flatlands is the source of her connection to the heartland’s working-class voters and a potential selling point in a national campaign. Yet her story has been clouded by the controversy that erupted during her 2012 Senate race over her undocumented claims to Native American ancestry.
“Yeah, we got a fight on our hands,” she said. “A tough fight.”
“And here’s the deal,” she said. “They have more money than we do. They already run big chunks of government. But here’s the thing I want you to think about: There’s a whole lot more of us than there is of them.”
This was the Warren who many liberals clamored to see run in 2016, a Democrat who would go to the country’s deep-red middle and sell her progressive version of prairie populism. Instead, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., swooped in to capture the party’s left while Trump claimed populism for the right.
Her visit, to speak at a rollicking rally sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, was an opportunity to seize upon progressives’ excitement after a nine-day strike in the spring.
In the cafetorium at Northwest Classen High School, she shouted, “Hello Okies!”
She recalled the high school debate team that taught her how to argue. While students at the public high school were known as “silkies” because they came from the fancy part of town, Warren has said her family struggled along the “ragged edge of the middle class,” fearful of losing their home after her father’s a heart attack.
Among the gifts collected by her aides was a patterned blanket that came, they said, from the governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.
Recently, Warren gave the Boston Globe extensive personnel records. The newspaper, after also interviewing dozens of people involved in hiring decisions throughout her career, concluded last month that her ethnicity claims played no role in her getting jobs at various law schools, including Harvard University.
She also has released 10 years of income tax returns, a rejoinder to Trump’s failure to release his. And Warren has taken steps to help Democrats around the country, donating to every state party committee while speaking for candidates in competitive elections.
Yet at times she has rankled fellow Democrats. This year, she went after politically vulnerable colleagues who voted with Republicans to roll back provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law enacted after the 2008-09 financial crisis. In 2014, she brought the government to the brink of a shutdown over a similar issue, before relenting.
“I’ve gone out and worked for the team, and I’ll continue to do that,” Warren said in an interview. “But at the same time, I’m going to fight hard for what I believe in. It’s not good for American families when Wall Street calls the shots in Washington.”
“If we get more people to turn out and vote, we win,” Warren said. “This is all about giving people a reason to turn out, a reason to get in the fight, a reason to knock on doors, a reason to run for office, a reason to drag your friends and your family and your neighbors and your co-workers down to the polls on Election Day.”
©2018 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.