President Trump was called a racist, among other things, for referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as Pocahontas.
But Trump’s purpose in referring to Warren by the name of the 17th-century Native American is to brand her as a fraud for claiming to be Cherokee to get a leg up in her efforts to get on the Harvard faculty.
Trump outraged much of the media when he referred to Warren as Pocahontas at an event honoring Native American code-talkers and their contributions during World War II.
“It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur,” Warren said on MSNBC.
“I think what most people find offensive is Sen. Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Bill Maher casually referred to Warren as Pocahontas on his late-night TV show. Then, Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show on the Comedy Channel, broke it down, saying that Warren had done something “problematic” in claiming falsely to be of Native American heritage.
Noah said it was a bit trickier than many of the nicknames Trump bestows on his various adversaries because most of his others are obvious in their meanings.
“But when he says ‘Pocahontas,’ you might be thinking, ‘Wait, Trevor, I’m confused. Is Elizabeth Warren Native American?” Noah said.
“And, you see, that’s the question because, for a long time, she said she was.”
This despite the New England Historical Genealogical Society having investigated her claims and found no proof Warren had Native American heritage.
“Is Donald Trump racist?” Noah said. “Yeah. But in his own way, he is hitting Elizabeth Warren for saying she is Native American when she wasn’t.”
It wasn’t that she committed a crime, Noah said.
“Elizabeth Warren did something problematic, the kind of thing we rightfully call each other out for every single day,” Noah said. “So as weird as it is to say, in his own racially offensive way, Donald Trump was being woke. Yeah, and that’s, unfortunately, the truth.”
The senator is unlikely to live down the depiction anytime soon. Shiva Ayyadurai, a native of Bombay, is running as an independent against Warren in the 2018 Senate race in Massachusetts. Ayyadurai sent Warren a DNA kit for her birthday, which she sent back unused.
His slogan: “Only a real Indian can defeat a fake Indian.”
“That’s the nightmare for Elizabeth Warren because I can attack her from the left. I can say, ‘Wait a minute, what do you know about the journey of a person of color?
“You know nothing. This is all theory to you. Because you did lie. You took advantage of affirmative action.”
But the claim is unlikely to go away.
Politifact concluded in a recent analysis that Warren’s “genealogical claim has zero documentary evidence to back it up.”
“Elizabeth Warren needs to apologize and admit that she knowingly claimed an employment status she was not entitled to claim,” Cornell Law professor William Jacobson told the Washington Times. “Ignoring her own conduct, and pretending that those who criticize her are the problem, has worked so far for her in Massachusetts. But I don’t think it will work if Warren has presidential ambitions.”