On Monday, November 27th, Donald Trump spoke at an event honoring Native American veterans who served in World War II, and ended up turning the ceremony into an opportunity to spew hate and bigotry against his political opponents. While addressing the veterans to thank them for their service, the president could not resist the opportunity to make a joke at the expense of Native Americans. Trump when on a rant about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, referring to her by the nickname he gave her during the 2016 election, “Pocahontas.”
‘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.’
Ironically, the president gave his speech in front of a painted portrait of former president Andrew Jackson, who was perhaps one of the United States biggest advocates against Native Americans through history. Jackson infamously forced the removal of Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, invoking what came to be known as the “Trail of Tears.”
Trump has expressed, not surprisingly, his admiration for Andrew Jackson several times in the past. The New York Times issued a report in March of this year about President Trump’s trip to Jackson’s estate, the Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, where he apparently called the seventh president “an amazing figure in American history.” Not to mention, according to Newsweek, Trump immediately put up a portrait of “Old Hickory,” as Jackson was well known, the minute he entered the Oval Office.
President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2017
The president also tweeted in May that if Jackson had president in the years leading up to the Civil War, he “would have never let it happen.” Though the president continues to demonstrate little to no understanding of American history on a regular basis, it is clear why he admires the racist Jackson as one of his heroes.
Goofy Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, pretended to be a Native American in order to advance her career. Very racist!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2016
As fitting as it was to have the ghost of racist presidents past looming behind Trump during his speech today, the president took no reservation in following Jackson’s footsteps in fostering a hateful environment for Native Americans by referring to Warren as “Pocahontas,” a name he has been calling her since June of 2016.
"Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he is gonna shut me up with this. It hadn't worked in the past, it is not gonna work in the future." Watch @SenWarren's response to Trump calling her Pocahontas. pic.twitter.com/C3ulPzlsw7
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 27, 2017
Senator Warren responded to the president’s comments in an interview with MSNBC, where she stated:
‘This was supposed to be an event to honor heroes, people who put it all on the line for our country. It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States can’t even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without throwing out a racial slur.’
‘Look, Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he’s going to shut me up with it. It hasn’t worked in the past. It is not going to work in the future.’
Although Trump has yet to respond to Warren’s comments directly (and will undoubtedly Tweet an irrational message by the end of tonight), CNBC has reported that White House representative Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has spoken on the matter, stating:
‘I don’t believe that it is appropriate for [Trump] to make racial slur, or anybody else. I don’t think that it is [a racial slur] and I certainly don’t think that was the president’s intent.’
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