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In response to Trump's 'Pocahontas' jibes, Elizabeth Warren releases results of DNA test

  • October 15, 2018


Senator Warren says her DNA test results indicate she has Native American ancestry.

WASHINGTON – After years of dealing with criticism for claiming Native American ancestry, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is going public with the results of a DNA test. 

The Massachusetts Democrat shared the analysis of her genetic background – which found “strong evidence” of Native American ancestry going back six to 10 generations –  with the Boston Globe on Sunday and shared the full report on her website Monday. 

Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante conducted the analysis and concluded that while a “vast majority” of Warren’s background is European, “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.” 

President Donald Trump has derisively referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” in an attempt to mock her claim. Last week, Trump said at a rally in Iowa that he hopes Warren runs against him in 2020 so that “we can finally get down to the fact as to whether or not she has Indian blood.” 

“Her mother says, ‘She has high cheekbones, that’s why,'” Trump said. “And she’s gotten a lot of advantages by falsely claiming what she’s claiming.” 

His attack echoes a long-running criticism among conservatives who say Warren, a former law professor, used her claim of Native American ancestry to gain advantage in the academic world, where there is a strong emphasis on diversity in hiring. 

Warren fired back at Trump in a campaign video about her background, which includes a scene where she gets the results from Bustamante. 

“The president likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?” Warren asks Bustamante in a phone call. 

“The facts suggest that you absolutely have Native American ancestry in your pedigree,” Bustamante says. 

The video also includes clips of eight colleagues from various law schools who praise Warren as a scholar and vehemently deny that her background played any role in her hiring. 

Last month, Warren released to the Globe the contents of her personnel files from the universities where she has worked. In addition, the paper interviewed more than 100 colleagues and every person involved with her hirings that reporters were able to contact. 

The Globe’s conclusion: “It is clear that Warren was viewed as a white woman by the hiring committees at every institution that employed her.” 

Warren sent a tweet Monday reminding Trump that in July he offered to donate $1 million to the charity of Warren’s choice if a DNA test showed that she is Native American. 

“Remember saying on 7/5 that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry?” Warren asked Trump. “I remember – and here’s the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.” 

Trump denied making the $1 million offer when asked about it by reporters outside the White House on Monday. 

“Who cares?” Trump said. “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.”

A review of a video from Trump’s rally in Great Falls, Montana, on July 5 shows that he made the offer in the context of a hypothetical presidential debate with Warren. Trump imagines turning to Warren during the debate and tossing her a DNA testing kit. 

“And we will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian,'” he said. 

As Trump’s indifference to the test shows, the results of Warren’s DNA analysis are unlikely to silence her fiercest critics.

Warren’s family lore says that her great-great-great-grandmother was at least part Cherokee, which would make her 1/32nd Native American. When Warren’s heritage became an issue in her 2012 Senate race against Scott Brown, conservatives said that even if true, 1/32 did not qualify Warren to identify as Native American. 

“While her claim to be, at most, 1/32 Cherokee would make an interesting tidbit at a cocktail party, it doesn’t really amount to what most of us think of as a ‘minority,'” the late Breitbart editor Mike Flynn wrote in 2012. “It suggests, rather, someone stretching things a bit to make herself seem slightly more interesting. At worst, it could be a case of Warren stretching the truth to get advantages others don’t get.”

Although Bustamante’s analysis could support Warren’s claim, to be 1/32nd Cherokee, If her Native American ancestry stretches back 10 generations, that would make her just 1/1024th Native American, according to the Globe. 


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  • Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., introduces Warren during5 of 22
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  • Warren gestures to the crowd after speaking at the7 of 22
  • Warren meets with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland8 of 22
  • Warren joins fellow Senate Democrats for a news conference9 of 22
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  • Warren walks to the Senate floor to vote on Jan. 12,11 of 22
  • Warren confers with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., on Capitol12 of 22
  • Warren joins Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kirsten Gillibrand,13 of 22
  • Warren listens as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau14 of 22
  • Warren waves as she arrives on the West Front of the15 of 22
  • Warren hugs her husband, Bruce Mann, during an election16 of 22
  • Warren speaks at the Democratic National Convention17 of 22
  • Warren speaks to reporters while campaigning at Liberty18 of 22
  • Warren watches as President Obama shakes hands with19 of 22
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