Trump Makes “Pocahontas” Joke at Event Honoring Native American Veterans


Emily Solomon , Contributor

Donald Trump’s presidential term has been riddled with controversies from the start, and on November 27th another  controversy has been added to this rapidly increasing list. This was the date of a ceremony in honor of the Native American Code Talkers who served in World War II. Trump was met with outrage when he used his speech at the event to make what many considered an insensitive remark about Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Since a campaign speech in April, Trump has been calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” as an attack on her claims that she is 1/32 Native American. He made a reference to this during his speech to three of the Code Talkers. Trump commented,  “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.” Pretty quickly after this, Warren fired back telling NBC, “It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur.”

Warren was not the only person to take offense to this comment. The National Congress of American Indians, the largest group for Native Americans, has criticized these remarks too. Jackson Keel, president of the group, released a statement saying, “We regret that the president’s use of the name Pocahontas as a slur to insult a political adversary is overshadowing the true purpose of today’s White House ceremony.” In defense of President Trump, white house press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she did not believe Trump’s comment, but instead thinks, “Senator Warren was very offensive when she lied about something specifically to advance her career, and I don’t understand why no one is asking about that question and why that isn’t constantly covered.”

The reason people such as Sanders and Trump believe Warren is lying about her heritage is because she has produced no documented proof of it. The stories passed down through her family were the only evidence she provided to support these claims. Warren told CNN, “As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage. What kid would? But I knew my father’s family didn’t like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware, so my parents had to elope.” The White House staff was not satisfied with this, asking for a DNA test or some other kind of documentation. When Warren did not comply, Trump took to making fun of her, calling her “goofy Elizabeth Warren” and “Pocahontas.” Although this speech was not Trump’s first use of the nickname, given the audience of Native American war heroes, many perceived this to be in particularly poor taste.