- President Donald Trump slammed Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for claiming Native American heritage, accusing her of defrauding the public by pretending to belong to another ethnicity.
- On Monday, Warren released the results of a DNA test that suggested she was between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.
- The Cherokee Nation and members of Warren’s own party criticised her attempt to prove ancestry using a DNA test, which can’t establish ancestry with 100% certainty.
- Trump also said Harvard wouldn’t have hired Warren as a law professor in the 1990s without her claiming Native American ancestry, but The Boston Globe reported in September that Harvard never considered her claim in reviewing her application.
President Donald Trump slammed Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for claiming Native American ancestry, accusing her in a tweet on Tuesday of defrauding the public by pretending to belong to another ethnicity.
On Monday, Warren released the results of a DNA test that suggested she was between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American. Trump has consistently criticised her for claiming Cherokee heritage while she was a law professor at Harvard, often calling her “Pocahontas” as an insult.
Warren’s Senate reelection campaign also created a website and released a five-minute video that features her family in Oklahoma, where she was born and raised, alongside the Stanford University professor who conducted the DNA test.
But scientists have been quick to point out that DNA tests can’t prove ancestry. Additionally, nearly all European-Americans with long enough family lines in the US have some trace amount of DNA of Native American origin.
“Now that her claims of being of Indian heritage have turned out to be a scam and a lie, Elizabeth Warren should apologise for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public,” Trump tweeted. “Harvard called her ‘a person of colour’ (amazing con), and would not have taken her otherwise!”
While Warren’s claim has not been disproven, her DNA-test press blitz appeared to backfire heavily.
Warren initially appeared triumphant and challenged Trump to make good on his July promise of donating $US1 million to a charity of Warren’s choice if a DNA test found that she had Native American heritage. But the Cherokee Nation and members of her own party quickly turned on her.
“Pretty extraordinary video to surface even before you enter the race,” said David Axelrod, former President Barack Obama’s strategist. “It says: 1) @SenWarren is 100% running. 2) She thinks this Pocahontas crap is a potential problem. 3) She wants to dispose of it now, lest she be Birtherized. The risk I’m sure she considered? This elevates it.”
Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, tweeted: “Argue the substance all you want, but why 22 days before a crucial election where we MUST win house and senate to save America, why did @SenWarren have to do her announcement now? Why can’t Dems ever stay focused???”
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. called the test cited in Warren’s report “useless” in determining tribal citizenship and accused her of “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” he said in a statement. “Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America.”
Trump appeared to go too far when he said Harvard “would not have taken” Warren but for her claim of Native American ancestry. The Boston Globe reported in September that Harvard never considered Warren’s claim when she was applying to become a law professor there in the 1990s.
Warren has long been an outspoken critic of Trump and remains a much-discussed potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
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