While honoring Native Americans who were “code-talkers” during World War II, President Donald Trump on Monday once again succumbed to the temptation to use the moment to call out Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (shown on left) by her “nickname” Pocahontas: “You were here long before any of us were, although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
The silence was deafening, but not the outrage expressed during a press conference that took place shortly afterward. Asked why the president would choose to use a phrase that many people might find offensive, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders fired back: “What most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.”
The story dates back to 2012 when Warren was challenging Scott Brown for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Brown had run a series of ads attacking Warren’s veracity after she referred to herself as a member of a minority group, with 1/32 of her ancestry being Cherokee Indian. Investigators into the claim had a field day: They found that not only is there no corroboration to the claim but that Warren’s professional career only really got traction when she was hired by Harvard during a time when that college was under fire for lacking in numbers of “minority” professors.
Investors Business Daily (IBD) concluded its research with this:
If Warren’s scholarship is so deeply lacking academic vigor, how did she land a full professorship at Harvard?
Her curriculum vitae shows she bounced from college to college, working as a lecturer or researcher, for a full decade after graduating from Rutgers Law, ranked 82nd by Top-Law-Schools.com. (She got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, one of the least competitive colleges in the country.)
She was offered a full professorship after she started listing herself as a minority. Harvard hired her in the mid-1990s, when the school was under fire for not having enough minority professors.
Even the Washington Post, which is a major leftist mouthpiece with a political ideology similar to, if not identical with, that of Warren, said, “There is no documented proof of Warren’s self-proclaimed, partial Native American heritage.” And that quote was from an update to its original 2012 report for its “Fact Checker” column, in June 2016 as “a refresher of this issue from four years ago.” Said WaPo: “We found that Warren’s relying on family lore rather that official documentation to make an ethnic claim raised serious concerns about Warren’s judgment.”
Whether she touted her Native American heritage to obtain her position at Harvard remains an open question. What is clear is that when a reporter pressed her on the matter in May 2012, she was having none of it:
REPORTER: Elizabeth, can you put this issue to bed and tell us whether or not you are in fact a member of a minority group?
WARREN: Middle class families are getting hammered. I’ve been out talking to people about this all across the commonwealth. And what they care about is what Washington is going to do about that. My Republican opponent has made it clear what he will do —
REPORTER: Members of the Cherokee nation want to know. They say you should come clean.
WARREN: I have made the facts clear, and what I’m trying to do is talk about in this Senate race what matters to America’s families, what matters to the families of the Commonwealth of the Massachusetts. Scott Brown has hammered on my family at the same time that now middle class families are also getting hammered. This is the issue, and it’s my job in this campaign to talk about this issue. This is what matters —
REPORTER: Well, why did you claim you were a minority, and then stop?
REPORTER: Why did you claim you were a minority, and then stop?
WARREN: I have told you. I have answered these questions. I am going to talk about what’s happening to America’s families. It’s what people across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tell me is important to them, and it’s what I’m going to continue to do.
REPORTER: Don’t you think it’s an important issue to address?
WARREN: I have talked about the issues that are most important to the families of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The families themselves have made this clear. I have answered the questions about my background, about my family, and I am talking about what matters to the people of Massachusetts. They have said what they care about is that middle class families are getting hammered. This election will be decided based on whose side you stand on. Scott Brown has hammered those families harder, he just voted to double the interest rate on student loans, and I have worked for middle class families for all of my life. I’ve spent the last thirty years out there advocating on behalf of America’s middle class. And that’s what I’m going to talk about.
REPORTER: You’re not answering the question.
Photo of Elizabeth Warren: senate.gov