A new tweet from President Trump seems intended to poke fun at Elizabeth Warren and her claim that she has Native American ancestry. Warren, the Massachusetts senator, just announced that she’s setting up an exploratory committee ahead of a possible run at the White House in 2020. Trump’s tweet shows a Warren banner; below the name “Warren,” the banner reads, “1/2020th.”
The fraction “1/2020th” jabs at Warren’s 2020 ambitions — but it also mocks Warren by hinting that only a tiny fraction of her ancestry is Native American. There’s a lot of backstory here. For years, Trump and other conservatives have been attacking Elizabeth Warren for her claims that she has some Cherokee ancestry. Trump (and others) often mock the Massachusetts senator by calling her “Pocahantas.” They have also claimed that Warren described herself as Native American in order to get into college and to get jobs.
Warren, who is originally from Oklahoma, says that her family does have Cherokee ancestors and that she grew up hearing family stories about those ancestors. But she denies that she ever claimed to be Native American to get any advantage at school or at work.
Warren Took a Lot of Heat After Releasing a DNA Test to ‘Prove’ She Had Native Ancestry
Back in October, Trump was on a cross-country tour stumping for Republican candidates ahead of the mid-term elections. He spent a lot of time talking about “Pocahantas” and making fun of Warren’s ambitions. He repeatedly called on her to take a DNA test to prove that she did, in fact, have Native ancestry. After a while, Warren took the bait. She released a DNA report which said that there was “strong evidence” that Warren has some Native American ancestry. The report says that Warren is of primarily European descent but says that the analysis “also identified 5 genetic segments as Native American in origin at high confidence.” According to the report, Warren’s Native American ancestry likely comes from six to ten generations ago. You can read the full genetic report here.
Warren tried to present the DNA report as a win, and repeatedly tweeted at Trump that it was time for him to “pay up” the million dollars which he had promised her if she took the test. But Warren was widely derided for taking Trump’s bait, and the move has been described as a sign of her weakness. Conservatives mocked the test results which, they said, proved that she had virtually no Native ancestry. The president’s tweet on January 3 seemed to be a reference to that.
And at the time, the Cherokee Nation complained that Warren was “undermining tribal interests” by claiming to have Native ancestry. A statement released by Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr read, in part:
“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even determine whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America…Using a DNA test to lay claim to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”