Trump held a rally in Montana Thursday during which he went on a riff about Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her claims of Native American ancestry. From CNN:
His most extended attack was aimed at Warren, a Democrat he has long targeted for claiming that she is part Native American and derisively nicknamed “Pocahontas,” after the 17th century historical figure. On Thursday, Trump mocked people who called on him to apologize for the remark and sarcastically apologized to the historic figure.
“I want to apologize. Pocahontas, I apologize to you. I apologize to you. To you I apologize,” he said. “To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.”
Trump suggested that during a future presidential debate with Warren he would toss a genetic testing kit to her and offer to pay $1 million to her favorite charity if she would take the test and verify her claims. “I have a feeling she’ll say no,” Trump said. Warren responded to Trump’s mockery on Twitter:
Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you're destroying.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July 5, 2018
Naturally, CNN hosts are outraged by all of this. Brooke Baldwin called Trump’s comments sexist and racist. From the Hill:
“He picks on these two female members of Congress,” said Baldwin on “CNN Newsroom” during a panel discussion. “Congresswoman Maxine Waters [D-Calif.], who has been criticized recently, and he picks on her IQ. Then he picks on Senator Warren and her race.”…
“On the … point on language, why do you think he keeps calling her ‘Pocahontas?’” Baldwin asked incredulously. “It is not just sexist, it is racist!”
I don’t automatically dislike Brooke Baldwin’s commentary. She did call out Samantha Bee a couple months ago for her crude and obnoxious attack on Ivanka Trump. And a few weeks ago she pressed Sen. Tammy Baldwin about whether or not she felt any outrage over childhood detentions when Obama was president. I’m not suggesting Baldwin plays things down the middle but I have to give her credit for occasionally suggesting that the left should be held to some standards too.
That said, Baldwin’s commentary here is preposterous. It’s not racist to point out that someone claiming to be a racial minority isn’t one. If Warren would take the test and prove her heritage and Trump continued calling her Pocahontas, that would be racist. But as it stands, Trump isn’t mocking Native Americans precisely because he doesn’t think she is one. He’s mocking a wealthy white Senator with an unverified family story.
And by the way, as Trump mentions in this clip, he’s not the only person suggesting she should take the DNA test. A left-leaning paper in Massachusetts wrote an editorial arguing she should do so back in March. A few days later Chuck Todd brought up the idea of a DNA test on Meet the Press. “What’s wrong with knowing?” Todd asked. Warren replied, “Look, I do know. I know who I am.”
But she doesn’t. She’s making a very specific claim that could easily be settled scientifically. The fact that she refuses to settle it doesn’t say a lot for her confidence. Here’s Trump’s riff from the Montana rally.