I admit, I laughed out loud when I read
that President Trump had called out Pocahontas, aka Senator Elizabeth
Warren, in the midst of his celebration of Navajo Code Talkers.
It was just so outrageous, so Trumpian and unprovoked. It looked like
the president ran dry of things to say about the Native American World
War II heroes, so inserted his little joke before lauding them for their
bravery and service.
The allusion to liberal firebrand Warren appeared to have sailed over
the veterans’ heads; the same could not be said of the liberal press.
I laughed in part because out of nowhere -- yet another hum-drum White
House ceremony -- Trump had again set the world on fire, and in part
because I could predict with 100 percent certainty what was about to
rain down upon his totally welcoming head.
Almost immediately the ever-outraged Elizabeth Warren complained to
CNN's Anderson Cooper that “President Trump couldn't even make it
through a ceremony to honor these men without throwing in a racial
slur.” That line was picked up in critical articles in the New York
Times and Washington Post; the liberal intelligentsia was simply
What is rich, of course, is that the fury unleashed on Trump for
referencing Warren’s pretense to Native American heritage is mountains
more intense than the criticism leveled at the Massachusetts senator for
making the claim in the first place.
In this era, when people are called out for “cultural appropriation” if
they wear sombreros or Viking helmets for Hallowe’en, how can we ignore
the fiction that Warren apparently created and that she is accused of
using to advance her career?
It was during Warren’s 2012 senate race that the issue of her Native
American claims first surfaced. During the course of that campaign, her
opponent Scott Brown revealed that in both her applications to Harvard
and Penn, “she checked the box claiming she was a Native American” and
criticized her for pretending to be a “person of color.”
A reporter asked Warren about a 1998 story in the Harvard Crimson
quoting a university spokesman who defended Harvard’s lack of diversity
by claiming that Warren was Native American.
Overnight the senator was accused of having won her post by pretending
to be something she was not.
She pushed back, saying that her mother’s family, coming from what
Warren calls “Indian Territory” and the rest of us call Oklahoma, had
long told stories about their Cherokee ancestry.
She never could document that heritage, nor could reporters who dug deep
into her background. Even the Washington Post, running an exhaustive
review of the claims and counter-claims, finally gave up and refused to
rate Warren’s story.
Nonetheless, she continues to maintain that the affiliation was family
lore, and she believes it. She also says that former employers,
including Harvard, hired her for her talent, and not her heritage, even
as they took advantage of it. According to CNN, “They singled her out,
Warren later acknowledged, because she had listed herself as a minority
in an Association of American Law Schools directory.”
Whether the Massachusetts’ senator’s claims are true or not, Donald
Trump has effectively latched onto what he considers a vulnerability, as
he so often does. Why would he have chosen to ruffle Warren’s feathers
Monday? Perhaps because she was about to become the most vocal advocate
for the rogue Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), which the Trump
administration wants to emasculate.
The CFPB was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, who is as passionate in
her hatred of banks as she is about her Cherokee heritage.
Having spent much of her childhood terrified that her father’s serial
business failures might cost them their mortgaged home, Warren grew up
with an intense hostility towards the financial sector. (This is true,
and is generously documented in her autobiography "A Fighting Chance.")
Her suspicions and dislike of bankers multiplied throughout the
financial crisis, which she (erroneously) pinned on a lack of
Hence, she saw the CFPB as a vital new weapon against the misbehavior
that caused the financial meltdown. Because of her distrust of the power
and reach of banks, she insisted the new agency be totally independent
of Congress and the White House. As such, it is without oversight or
accountability and, we now know, prone to abuse.
The Trump administration has installed OMB head Mick Mulvaney as acting
chair in the wake of former head Richard Cordray’s surprise resignation.
The move is being challenged by Leandra English, appointed by Cordray.
As a court battle brews, we will be relitigating the value and structure
of the CFPB. Warren will take the lead in that discussion.
What better way to undermine Warren’s passionate defense of the CFPB
than by reminding voters of her questionable claims of Native American
blood, which sound somewhat silly. Consider this pearl, extracted from a
2012 NPR interview, “I am very proud of my heritage. These are my family
stories. This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad,
my mammaw and my pappaw.”
One wag posted on Twitter, “Trump and Elizabeth Warren should bury the
hatchet.” That’s not going to happen anytime soon – this is too much fun
for Trump, and much too useful.
Liz Peek is a writer who contributes frequently to FoxNews.com. She is a
financial columnist who also writes for The Fiscal Times. For more visit
LizPeek.com. Follow her on Twitter@LizPeek.