Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
President Trump has long mocked Warren by referring to her as Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan and an important figure in pre-United States' lore. Warren, who is white, has long claimed to have a small amount of Native American blood.
Her claims, since proven to be true, have nevertheless left her open to over-the-top mockery from Trump and other right-wing figures eager to attack the senator.
Trump's tweet was similar to other attacks he has made on Warren, acting as if she has routinely positioned herself as a Native American, or attempted to use that as a significant talking point.
At the end of the tweet, however, President Trump includes an unusual signoff, saying, "See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!"
Many has suspected that Trump capitalized the word "trail" to make a thinly-veiled reference to the Trail of Tears, a series of forced relocations of Native Americans undertaken after the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830 under president Andrew Jackson. Thousands of Native Americans died in these relocations, including roughly 2,000-8,000 of the 16,543 Cherokee who were marched out of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Alabama in the 1830s.
Early in Trump's presidency, he placed a portrait of President Jackson prominently in the Oval Office. He has also spoken out in defense of Jackson numerous times.
This is also not the first time Trump has cited an Indian massacre in reference to Warren.
In an early January tweet, the president shared an Instagram post by Warren, saying that should have included her husband in "full Indian garb" and been filmed at Bighorn or Wounded Knee.
If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash! pic.twitter.com/D5KWr8EPan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
The battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's last stand, was a military engagement between the United states and Arapaho, Northern Cheyenne, and Lakota tribes as part of the Great Sioux War of 1876. The Wounded Knee Massacre marked the deaths of some 250-300 Lakota men, women, and children at the hands of the United States Calvary.
While Trump hasn't, and likely won't, clarify what if anything he meant by his odd capitalization of the word "trail" in his tweet, some Trump apologists have come to the president’s defense, saying he is simply too ignorant to reference the forced relocation.
Yes, because Trump is noted for his knowledge of 19th century American history vis a vis the native population. Jeez. https://t.co/WYmvB1jg1O
— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 10, 2019
With Warren now firmly in the race for 2020, we are sure to see even more of this in the months ahead.
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