Standing in front of a portrait of Indian Removal Act architect Andrew Jackson at an event commemorating the achievements of World War II Native American code talkers, President Trump uncorked this gem to his captive audience of nonagenarians:
“You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
“Pocahontas” is Trump’s preferred slur for Senator Elizabeth Warren. During her academic career, the Massachusetts lawmaker listed herself as a minority in a law school directory, and was touted as a Native American faculty member at Harvard, revelations that caused controversy during her 2012 senate campaign.
Trump’s “joke” landed in dead silence, according to a White House press pool report. One can only imagine that it was accompanied by some silent internal questioning among the code talkers of why the hell they bothered back in the ’40s.
Senator Warren responded on MSNBC: “It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it though a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur.”
At the White House press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “ridiculous” for the media to call Trump’s comments a racial slur. “I think what most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career,” she said.
John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said Trump’s nickname for Warren “smacks of racism,” and that the president should “stop using our historical people of significance as a racial slur against one of his opponents.”