President Donald Trump appeared to reference the Trail of Tears in a tweet criticizing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the day she launched her 2020 presidential campaign.
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
"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!"
Warren has been criticized for claiming in the past to have Native American ancestry, but said she did not use that to advance her career. During the lead-up to her presidential campaign launch, the claims came under renewed scrutiny. The Washington Post obtained a copy of her State Bar of Texas registration card, in which she clearly wrote "American Indian" as her ethnicity.
On Feb. 1, the Cherokee Nation confirmed that Warren reached out and apologized after she used a DNA test to claim Native American ancestry last year.
"We are encouraged by this dialogue and understanding that being a Cherokee Nation tribal citizen is rooted in centuries of culture and laws not through DNA tests," Cherokee Nationa executive director of communications Julie Hubbard said in a statement, reports CNN. "We are encouraged by her action and hope that the slurs and mockery of tribal citizens and Indian history and heritage will now come to an end."
“I can’t go back,” Warren told The Washington Post. “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”
Trump has frequently mocked Warren for the claim, usually referring to her as "Pocahontas." His tweet on Saturday drew a response from one Trump supporter reading, "The Native American genocide continues with another murder by the president."
Trump's tweet appeared to reference the Trail of Tears, a name given to the relocation of Native Americans forced to leave their ancestral homelands in the South to the designated Indian Territory, which became Oklahoma. It began in 1830, after President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. Thousands of Native Americans died, including 4,000 Cherokees, during the march to Oklahoma. Trump has a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office.
Warren was first elected Senator in 2012, and her claims of Native American ancestry surfaced that year. She was re-elected Senator in 2018 and launched her 2020 campaign Saturday in Lawrence, Massachusetts.0comments
Other Democrats who launched their campaigns include New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tusli Gabbard and California Sen. Kamala Harris. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand launched an exploratory committee.
Photo credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images