House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) said Sunday that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has become a “laughingstock” for having claimed Native American ancestry, echoing one of President Trump’s attack lines against the 2020 White House contender.
But Cheney declined to criticize Trump for tweeting on Saturday, “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” Some saw the tweet as a mocking reference to the Trail of Tears, during which an estimated 4,000 Cherokee died after they were forced off their land in 1838-1839.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether she had concerns about Trump apparently joking about the Trail of Tears as well as his earlier invocation of the Wounded Knee massacre, Cheney responded by taking aim at Warren.
“You know, I have concerns about somebody like Elizabeth Warren pretending to be a Native American,” Cheney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I do represent thousands of Native Americans here in Wyoming. And the notion that anybody of any political party would pretend that they were a member of a tribe, or would pretend that they were Native American — and would do it, as she seems to have done it, in order to get benefits — that is, in my view, the disgrace.”
She added that Warren has “made herself a laughingstock. I wonder whether or not anybody around her is saying, you know, ‘It’s time to say this just isn’t going to work.’ ”
Warren formally launched her presidential bid Saturday by reemphasizing her signature issues of fighting economic inequality and corporate wrongdoing.
But her previous claims that she was a Native American have continued to dog her. In October, Warren released the results of a DNA test showing she had a distant Native American ancestor — a move that prompted criticism from Cherokee leaders who noted that tribal groups set their own criteria for lineage.
Last week, The Washington Post published a document showing Warren’s handwritten assertion that she was an “American Indian” on a 1986 registration card she filled out for the State Bar of Texas.
Warren has in recent days offered apologies for claiming Native American identity, first privately to the leader of the Cherokee Nation and then publicly.
“I can’t go back,” Warren said in an interview with The Post last week. “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”
Trump’s campaign issued a statement Saturday saying that Warren has been “exposed as a fraud,” and in a tweet, Trump continued to mock Warren over the issue.
“Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
Annie Linskey contributed to this report.