We expected widespread outrage after Trump's latest Pocahontas comment, and we didn't have long to wait.
Senator Elizabeth Warren tore into President Trump for using a "racial slur" after he cracked his latest "Pocahontas" joke during a Monday event with Navajo "code talker" veterans. She fired back at Trump, saying the event was meant to honor the sacrifice of those in attendance.
"It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur," Warren said during an MSNBC interview referring to the earlier comment.
"Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he is gonna shut me up with this. It hadn't worked in the past, it is not gonna work in the future." Watch @SenWarren's response to Trump calling her Pocahontas. pic.twitter.com/C3ulPzlsw7— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 27, 2017
She added that the code talkers “saved the lives of countless Americans and our allies" and said that "this was supposed to be an event to honor heroes, people who put it all on the line for our country."
Previously, Trump has repeatedly used the derisive nickname to refer to Warren, poking fun at her claim of Native American heritage: "You were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago," Trump said. "They call her Pocahontas, but you know what, I like you because you are special."
Warren in her response said Trump's joke will not stop her from continuing to criticize him. “Look, Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he’s going to shut me up with it," she said. "It hasn’t worked in the past. It is not going to work in the future.”
Earlier on Monday, the White House press secretary defended Trump's decision to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas", claiming it was not a racial slur.
“I think what most people find offensive is Sen. Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career," Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
Sarah Sanders says she doesn't think it's a racial slur for President Trump to refer to Sen. Warren as "Pocahontas" https://t.co/Sex6dDisuA— CNN (@CNN) November 27, 2017
Sanders' denial rang hollow to some: according to The Hill, a leader of an organization representing Native American tribes said Monday that President Trump calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas” during an event honoring Native American Code Talkers “smacks of racism."
“The reference is using a historic American-Indian figure as a derogatory insult and that’s an insult to all American-Indians,” John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, told NBC News.
In a separate statement obtained by ABC News, the president of Navajo Nation, Russell Begaye, said that "in this day and age, all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people." "The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy," Begaye said. But he added that "the Navajo Nation does not want to engage in this dialogue between Sen. Warren and President Trump."
Norwood said Trump should “stop using our historical people of significance as a racial slur against one of his opponents."
Also in response to Trump's comment, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs slammed President Trump calling his remarks a "racist joke" and questioning his "moral authority."
"Donald Trump's racist joke during Native American Heritage Month no less demeaned the contributions that the Code Talkers and countless other Native American patriots and citizens have made to our great country," New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall said in a statement on Monday.
"The days when the President of the United States was held as a moral authority around the world were over 11 months ago, but at what should have been a solemn ceremony to honor Native veterans, Donald Trump took low even lower," he added.
Udall said the president's remark about Warren in the Oval Office will not take away from the Code Talker's WWII accomplishments: "This moment in history won't overshadow the contribution the Code Talkers made and continue to make to our nation," he added, slamming the comments for being especially in "poor taste against the backdrop of Andrew Jackson's portrait."
* * *
Meanwhile, others such as conservative radio host Stefan Molyneux had a different take: "If Senator Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) wants to get to the bottom of this once and for all, I’ll gladly pay for a @23andMe test to verify her Native American heritage."