For a long time, President Trump has taken to insulting Sen. Elizabeth Warren by calling her “Pocahontas,” as a way of mocking her claim of Native American heritage. In a meeting with a group of Native American veterans Monday afternoon, Trump used the culturally insensitive term — and during Native American Heritage Month, no less.
“You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump told three Navajo veterans who served as code talkers in World War II. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you.”
Here’s the video: Trump calls Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ while honoring Native American code talkers: “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.” pic.twitter.com/hjZ5MInDDf
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 27, 2017
During World Wars I and II, code talkers like the ones who visited the White House today used their native languages to confuse U.S. enemies who attempted to break codes. To make matters even worse, the president made the comments while standing in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson — you know, the one who signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which forced thousands of Native Americans to leave behind their homes and livelihoods.
The remarks were met with silence from the attendees, according to reporters present at the event. Sen. Warren, whose self-proclaimed heritage has been a point of debate since her 2012 Senate run, responded to the remarks and called the incident “deeply unfortunate.”
“This was supposed to be an event to honor heroes, people who put it all on the line for our country,” she told MSNBC. “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.”
Earlier this month, Trump called Warren “Pocahontas” on a tweet — causing outrage once again among Native American leaders, who have asked for Trump to stop using the term since he began insulting Warren during the 2016 presidential election.
“Pocahontas was prepubescent girl held hostage & raped by European invaders. Stop mocking her & Native women,” Indian Country columnist Ruth Hopkins tweeted in response at the time.
Back in May, Mary Kathryn Nagle, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, attorney, and playwright, told MSNBC that Trump should be held accountable for his comments.
“Trump’s inability to discern the difference between Sen. Warren and Pocahontas is no accident,” she said. “His attack on her native identity reflects a dominant American culture that has made every effort to diminish native women to nothing other than a fantastical, oversexualized, Disney character.”
By now, it shouldn’t be surprising that President Trump’s won’t refrain from taking jabs at political opponents, even if it means insulting an entire population. Instead of honoring those who fought for this country, he effectively made the whole event about himself and his insults.
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