If Donald Trump has proven one thing during his tumultuous presidential campaign, it’s that he is adept at offending large groups of people with off-the-cuff remarks. By now, the laundry list of groups who have taken exception with Trump’s rhetoric is well known, as the real estate mogul has estranged Mexicans, Muslims, handicapped people, women, and a number of other groups with his controversial jabs and assertions. Native Americans might be next in line to demand an apology from The Donald, as the outspoken GOP front-runner recently took a swipe at prominent Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, making light of controversy surrounding her purported heritage.
In an interview with Maureen Dowd for The New York Times, Donald Trump jokingly referred to Warren as “Pocahontas,” the name of a legendary Native American woman whose story was adapted for a popular Disney animated film. The comment followed Dowd’s question about whether or not Donald Trump has been pressured to tone down his online spat with the senator.
“When I asked if he had been chided by any Republicans for his Twitter feud with Elizabeth Warren, he replied, ‘You mean Pocahontas?’ So much for reining it in.”
Donald Trump’s crack about Warren is a not so subtle reference to a longstanding controversy surrounding the senator’s lineage. As reported by Politico, the flap started during Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 senate campaign when it was revealed that she had identified herself as being of Native American descent during her time at Harvard University. Because Warren produced no authenticated proof of her heritage, she was accused of falsifying her heritage. She later clarified the matter by explaining that information about her alleged Cherokee descent had been passed down over generations. Although she wrote extensively about the matter in her 2014 biography, Warren’s explanations have not been enough to placate her detractors, who now count Donald Trump among their ranks.
Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren sparred for a lengthy stretch last week in perhaps the only Twitter war that eclipsed the beef between Azealia Banks and Zayn Malik. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Warren took Trump to task over his “dangerous” policies and “reckless” words in one tweet, prompting the presumptive Republican nominee to brand her as “goofy” in a subsequent reply. Later in their back and forth sniping, Donald Trump made reference to Warren’s “phony Native American heritage.”
Back in March, Donald Trump referred to Elizabeth Warren as “the Indian,” when asked to respond to some of her previous online critiques. Trump dismissed Warren, suggesting that her attitude was part of the problem in today’s America.
“The problem with the country right now is it’s so divided,” Trump said in comments reported by CNN. “People like Elizabeth Warren really have to get their act together because it’s going to stay divided.”
According to Gawker, Donald Trump has a history of opposing measures directed at encouraging sensitivity to Native Americans and their heritage. Trump opposed the Obama Administration’s decision to change the name of Mount McKinley back to Denali, a move made out of respect to Native Americans. Trump has said that the Washington Redskins should keep their team name, despite the fact that many native Americans find the term “redskin” objectionable.
A 2015 report by Think Progress also chronicled Donald Trump’s intense business rivalries with Native American-owned casinos, including his connection to a 2000 ad campaign that allegedly cast casino owners from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe as drug users and criminals. Trump also feuded with Pequot Indians several years prior, reportedly telling a Congressional subcommittee that Native Americans should not be allowed to own casinos due to their involvement with organized crime. His claims were later refuted by a representative from the FBI.
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