This Saturday, Elizabeth Warren finally threw her hat into the ring and announced she’s running for president. Not long after the news made the rounds, President Trump attacked her with his familiar “Pocahontas” slur, while adding a vague footnote that has some wondering if he was referencing one of history’s most cruel examples of genocide against Native Americans.
This Saturday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter and wrote the following:
“Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”
Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
“TRAIL,” in all caps, looks as if Trump was referring to the infamous Trail of Tears, a horrific journey of relocation of Cherokee people that resulted in the deaths of thousands in 1838.
Trump’s attacks originated from Warren’s past claims of Native American heritage — claims that have since been cast into doubt, ultimately leading her to issue an apology for “not having been more sensitive about tribal citizenship.” Warren’s apology comes in the wake of a Washington Post report that revealed she listed her race as “Native American” on a Texas bar registration card in 1986. It was at least the third apology Warren has issued on the matter.
Warren’s claims of Native ancestry have invited criticism from both sides if the aisle, but Trump’s “Pocahontas” jabs still garner her a lot of sympathy.
In the comment thread beneath the Tweet, backlash grew against the President as people slammed him for what they see as his patented insensitivity and racism.
“The White House anti bullying campaign is only to beg people not to “bully” the Trump family,” one person tweeted. “Not the other way around.”
The joke here is that the Trail of Tears was a genocide. Get it? Get it? https://t.co/6wC5uwKnTa
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) February 9, 2019
“Not Funny, Just Cruel,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump evoking the ‘Trail of Tears’ where thousands of Native Americans died as we forced them off their land & pushed them west. Note: Last month he shut down crucial services on reservations & last elections Republicans tried to block voting for NA in ND.”
Whether the “trail” reference was intentional or not, Trump’s revival of the “Pocahontas” line of attack signals that he intends to keep it alive for as long as she’s in the running for president.
Featured image via Flickr