- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, on Monday released the findings of a DNA test that a researcher said “strongly support” her claims of Native American ancestry.
- President Donald Trump has used Warren’s claims to mock and undermine her, nicknaming her “Pocahontas.”
- He said in July that he would donate $US1 million to a charity of Warren’s choice if a DNA test found she had Native American heritage.
- On Monday morning, Trump denied ever offering the money.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, on Monday released the findings of a DNA test that a report said “strongly support” her claim of Native American ancestry, a claim on which President Donald Trump has previously seized to mock and undermine her.
Trump said at a July rally that he would give $US1 million to a charity of Warren’s choice if a DNA test found that the senator had Native American heritage.
“I have a feeling she will say no,” Trump said to cheers from the crowd.
Warren’s Senate reelection campaign has now created a website and released a five-minute video that features her family in Oklahoma, where she was born and raised, and Carlos Bustamante, the Stanford University professor who conducted the DNA test.
In the video, Bustamante says the facts suggest Warren “absolutely” had a Native American ancestor between six and 10 generations ago; the report describing the test’s results says they “strongly support” that conclusion.
The video also features several of Warren’s former academic colleagues pushing back on another line of attack from Trump and his allies, that Warren used her claim of Native American ancestry to advance her legal and political career. The president often sarcastically refers to the senator as “Pocahontas,” which many consider a racist insult.
In the video, Warren’s former colleagues say her ethnicity was not considered when they hired her to teach at Harvard Law School, the University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and UT Austin School of Law.
“The people who recruited Elizabeth to her teaching jobs, including Ronald Reagan’s former solicitor general, all confirm: they hired her because she was an award-winning legal scholar and professor and they were unaware of her family’s heritage,”the website says.
The senator asked Trump to direct his $US1 million donation to the Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, a nonprofit group that works to protect Native American women and their children from violence.
But on Monday morning, Trump denied ever offering Warren money in exchange for such test results.
“I didn’t say that – you better read it again,” he told a gaggle of reporters outside the White House.
The White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, dismissed the DNA test on Monday, telling CNN it “really doesn’t interest me.”
By the way, @realDonaldTrump: Remember saying on 7/5 that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry? I remember – and here's the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center: https://t.co/I6YQ9hf7Tv pic.twitter.com/J4gBamaeeo
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 15, 2018
This effort is the most comprehensive the senator has undertaken to defend and shed light on her heritage. She said she’s out not simply out to clear her name but to condemn racist attacks on Native Americans.
“Trump can say whatever he wants about me,” Warren says in the video. “But mocking Native Americans or any group in order to try to get at me – that’s not what America stands for.”
The public-relations campaign has reignited speculation that Warren is preparing for a 2020 presidential bid. Warren is already a national leader of the progressive left wing of the Democratic Party, has a strong fundraising operation, and is poised to win reelection to the Senate in a landslide next month.
During a September event in Holyoke, Massachusetts, she gave her clearest indication yet that she would run in 2020.
“It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top. So here’s what I promise: After November 6, I will take a hard look at running for president,” she said to an extended standing ovation.
But the senator must also contend with what her constituents want her to do. A recent poll in Warren’s home state found that a majority of Massachusetts voters didn’t want her to run for the presidency, despite approving of her work in the Senate.
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