Actor Rob Lowe was skewered on social media because of a now-deleted tweet in which he said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) “would bring a whole new meaning to Commander in ‘Chief’ ” — a jab at the Democratic senator for claiming to be Native American.
The tweet came shortly after Warren formally launched her presidential bid Saturday. Lowe deleted the tweet a few hours later, saying “some peeps got upset” at his joke. On Sunday morning, he talked about the country’s polarization and what he thinks causes it.
“Observation: many polarizing politicians actually LIKE each other, privately help each other, then publicly stir the pot, playing for votes. That’s fine. Only thing wrong with it is when we buy it whole cloth, breeding intolerance, anger and total inability to laugh at ANYTHING,” he wrote on Twitter.
Some critics on social media pointed out that Lowe did not apologize. On Saturday, Twitter users pounced, with some resurrecting a 30-year-old sex-tape scandal that nearly ended Lowe’s career.
Lowe, best known for playing Sam Seaborn in “The West Wing” and Chris Traeger in “Parks and Recreation,” wasn’t the only celebrity to mock Warren after she announced her candidacy.
“Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President,” President Trump tweeted Saturday. “Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!"
Many saw the president’s tweet, which earned exclamation-point heavy praise from his eldest son, as a mockery of the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Native Americans from their homeland under President Andrew Jackson.
Warren has struggled to quell a controversy over her claims of Native American identity. Earlier this month, she apologized privately to the Cherokee Nation over DNA test results indicating that she has Native American ancestry. The test angered Native American leaders, who said tribal citizenship is deeply rooted in culture, heritage and laws, not just blood.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that Warren listed “American Indian” as her race on a registration card for the State Bar of Texas in 1986. She apologized again, this time publicly, “for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”
Warren’s 45-minute speech Saturday in Lawrence, Mass., steered clear of references to the controversy as she sought to focus the conversation on her economic message.
All of this comes amid a separate race controversy boiling over in Virginia, where white politicians found themselves grappling with the painful history of blackface.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) faces widespread calls for his resignation after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook surfaced a week ago. The photograph shows two people, one in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes. Northam, who has vowed to stay in office, said he wasn’t in the picture, although he initially took responsibility for it and could not explain why the photograph was on his yearbook page.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) also admitted to and apologized for wearing blackface in the past.
Annie Linskey, Amy Gardner and Gregory Schneider contributed to this report.