During a Monday press conference, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump responded to criticism from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) by calling her “the Indian.”
Warren has been ratcheting up her attacks on Trump in recent weeks, including this March 14 Facebook post:
Asked about Warren’s criticisms during a news conference in Washington, D.C., Trump referred to a long-simmering controversy about Warren’s heritage.
— POLITICO Video (@POLITICOvideo) March 21, 2016
Those comments echo remarks made in a New York Times interview published over the weekend. Asked about Warren’s criticism, Trump said, “I think it’s wonderful because the Indians can now partake in the future of the country.”
“She’s got about as much Indian blood as I have,” Trump added. “Her whole life was based on a fraud. She got into Harvard and all that because she said she was a minority.”
While she was first running for the U.S. Senate seat she now holds back in 2012, the Boston Herald reported Warren listed herself as “Native American” while she was a professor at Harvard Law School. The Republican incumbent she was looking to unseat, then-Sen. Scott Brown, attacked Warren for listing herself as a minority, insinuating that she did so for professional gain. (Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma, said her family told her about her Native American heritage. She hasn’t provided substantive evidence for her claim but follow-up reporting revealed she’s likely part Cherokee.)
As ThinkProgress’ Emily Atkin wrote about last fall after Trump went public with his opposition to President Obama’s decision to restore the name of the nation’s tallest mountain from Mount McKinley to Denali, the billionaire has a historically hostile relationship with Native Americans, largely stemming from the fact that his casino business competes with tribe-owned casinos. That history includes a number of instances where Trump has used racially-charged language to describe Native Americans.
Ironically, Buzzfeed revealed last summer that Trump lied about his own heritage. He repeatedly claimed his grandfather was from Sweden when he was in fact born in Germany.