Geronimo! Elizabeth Warren, whom President Trump has repeatedly mocked as ‘Pocahontas,’ has now issued the results of a DNA test indicating that she does indeed have Native American ancestry going back some 6-10 generations. A video released by Warren shows her receiving the news from one Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford University. According to Bustamante, ‘The facts suggest that you absolutely have a Native American ancestor in your pedigree.’
Trump has been fixated with Warren’s heritage.This was supposed to be his new ‘birther’ issue. In Iowa last week, he observed that he would like to ‘finally get down to the fact as to whether or not she has Indian blood.’ Why this was the case he did not indicate. On July 5 at a rally in Montana Trump declared, ‘we will say, “I will give you a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favourite charity, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.” And we’ll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no, but we will hold it for the debates.’ True to form, on Monday, Trump stated, ‘I didn’t say that. You better read it again.’ (In another foray into fiction, Trump also explained today that ‘rogue killers’ could somehow have entered the Saudi consulate in Ankara to murder Jamal Khashoggi.)
So it looks like this is another one of Trump’s losing bets that he has no intention of paying up on, though Warren indicated he could mail a check for $1 million to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Trump, a master of phony medical reports about his own health, had senior adviser Kellyanne Conway respond on Monday, ‘I know that everybody likes to pick their junk science or sound science depending on the conclusion. I haven’t looked at the test. I’m not a forensic scientist.’ This would imply, however, that it would also require forensic skills to know whether that she does not possess such heritage, something Conway probably never thought about.
No matter. For Warren, it’s part of a PR offensive for running for the presidency. Trump’s blasts at Warren may have inadvertently done her a favour. She had already seized on White House chief of staff’s description of her as an ‘impolite arrogant woman.’ On Twitter, she remarked, ‘Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump can’t shut me up – and neither can John Kelly. (He can’t even get @realDonaldTrump off Twitter, and as far as I can tell, that was his main job description when he took on the role of @WhiteHouse Chief of Staff).’ Now she is depicting herself as another member of a minority being calumniated by a vindictive, bullying president. In a form of political jujitsu, she will now trumpet her status as the first female with proven Native American status to serve as a senator.
As the Washington Post reports, Warren has established a vast campaign network for the midterm elections that she intends to deploy for 2020. She has raised $7.6 million for other candidates and committees in dozens of states. The Post indicates, ‘Her effort, which goes far beyond the fundraising and endorsement speeches in which prospective presidential candidates typically engage, has encompassed work in all 50 states and close coordination with more than 150 campaigns. The result is a wide-ranging network that includes those running for state treasurer in Nevada, state legislature in Iowa and congressional offices across the country.’
Warren will run as a bare-knuckles populist. There is no reason that Trump’s right-wing populism cannot be replaced by a left-wing version, and Warren’s credo isn’t all that different from the one that El Jefe enunciated during his 2016 campaign: ‘It’s time to break the stranglehold that the wealthy and well-connected hold over Washington. Together, we can save our government and make it work for the people. We can #EndCorruptionNow.’ Like the trade wars that he says are ‘easy’ to win, Trump indicated this morning, ‘I hope she’s running for president because I think she would be very easy.’ Her recent moves suggest otherwise.