It’s not just Black folks and Latinos. Donald Trump has always been an equal opportunity hater when it comes to different ethnicities.
That fact was on full display Monday when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” in front of a group of Navajo war heroes at the White House. But a closer look revealed that Trump’s cavalier comments toward Native Americans goes back nearly a quarter of a century.
The president was honoring a group of Navajo code talkers – Native Americans who helped the U.S. military create a secret method of communicating during World War II – when he used the “racial slur” at the White House on Monday.
“You were here long before any of us were here,” he told the elderly group of men. “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 was using a name for Warren coined by fellow Republican and current U.S. ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown, who famously questioned the senator’s claim of Native American heritage during their contentious campaign against one another to represent Massachusetts in the Senate.
Pocahontas “the favorite daughter of the Algonquin chief Powhatan, Pocahontas contributed significantly to the early survival of the Jamestown colony and played a brief but dramatic role in English imperial propaganda” during the 14 century,” according to History.com. She has become a legend in American folklore, but because of Warren’s outspoken opposition first to Trump’s candidacy and later to his presidential agenda, the president has used the name to attack the credibility of her claimed ethnicity.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Trump, while being questioned in 1993 by the Senate committee on Native American affairs, admitted he was judging Native Americans by their physical appearances and “whether they have Indian blood whether they’re qualified to run a gaming casino or not” – i.e. racially profiling.
“They don’t look like Indians to me,” Trump, who owns a number of casinos across the globe, said while being questioned about his unsuccessful efforts to buy a casino on Native American land. “And they don’t look like Indians to [other] Indians.”
Trump on Monday also took the opportunity to crack a Native American pun during the ceremony, referring to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly simply as “chief,” the Hill reported.
“He’s the general and the chief,” Trump said. “I said, how good were these code talkers? He said, ‘sir, you have no idea. You have no idea how great they were.’”
Following Trump’s remarks, Warren immediately fired back and said it was “deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States can’t even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without throwing out a racial slur.”
Aside from long calling Warren “Pocahontas,” the president previously upset Native Americans early this year when he signed an executive order to move ahead with plans for an oil pipeline in South Dakota, a project opposed by tribal members who said it could taint the local water supply.