“You’re very, very special people. 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. But you know what. I like you.” Trump said at the podium while addressing the Native American code talkers being honored.
The comment is aimed at democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has previously claimed to be part Native American herself. The comment quickly sparked an awkward moment on stage as the Navajo service members stared blankly towards the commander in chief. What was meant to be a moment to honor heroes of war, who utilized their own native language to secretly carry messages passed the enemy, abruptly turned into a chance for Trump to take jabs at political opponents.
Senator Warren appeared on MSNBC with a response to the remarks made by Trump.
“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,”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the remark against Warren by stating “I think what most people find offensive is Sen. Warren’s lying about her heritage to advance her career,”. This is referring to Warrens run for senate in 2012 when she was placed under fire for identifying as a minority, which could have helped her secure a teaching position as universities sought to increase minority employment even though she does not have concrete proof of this lineage. However, the schools in question came out to say that Warren was hired based on her teaching ability, and that her ancestry was not discussed.
The president of the Navajo Nation also responded to the presidents comments saying they were “disrespectful to Indian nations”