Donald Trump Jr. re-posted President Trump's Trail of Tears joke on Saturday, doubling down on the rhetoric that many people found offensive.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren officially announced her campaign for president in 2020 on Saturday. Warren is perhaps best-known for her controversial claims of Native American ancestry over the years, and the president's mockery of it. Therefore, it was no surprise when the president tweeted about her candidacy on Saturday, alluding to the story while Warren had not.
"Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President," the president tweeted, referencing the racial slur he nicknamed her. "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!"
Most assumed that the capitalized "TRAIL" was a reference to the Trail of Tears, a series of forced marches carried out in the U.S. in the 19th century, when Native American were pushed out of their homes. The Native Americans were forced to march by the state and local militias, and thousands died on the treacherous journey.
Trump Jr.'s Instagram post included a response to the president by Michael Malice, a right-wing pundit and author.
"The Native American genocide continues with another murder by the president," he joked.
"Savage!!!" aded Trump Jr. "Love my president.
The post got over 48,600 likes from Trump Jr.'s followers, many of whom seemed to enjoy the dark humor. It circulated outside of Trump Jr.'s circle, however, and horrified many Instagram users, who left angry comments for Trump Jr. and his followers.
"Disgusting and abhorrent to mock the massacre of the hundreds of thousands of people who lived here before you," one person wrote. "You are a sick, depraved and insecure waste of space."
"Wow this is the most hateful comment section I’ve ever read," added another. "Hope you’re all proud you stupid racists. Let’s hope that you all don’t breed."
The Trail of Tears lasted for about two decades, forcibly relocating the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Ponca nations. Estimations of the death toll vary widely, though scholars agree that it is many thousands.
The Cherokee nation later received restitution from the U.S. federal government, which handed over $1 million to the Tribe's eligible families in 1905.
Warren has been criticized over the years for claiming Native American heritage and using it to gain minority status on some applications. The president has focused in on this controversy, calling Warren by racist nicknames over the years.
Last year, Warren responded by releasing the results of a DNA test, showing that she was predominately European, with Native American ancestry six to ten generations back. She was then criticized by both the left and the right, and has since tried to distance herself from the story.