Change of Story? Warren Launches 2020 Tour, Says She Wasn't Claiming To Be a 'Person of Color'

Monica Sanchez | January 7, 2019
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Liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has officially launched her 2020 campaign with a visit to Iowa over the weekend.

Warren, who announced the launch of an exploratory committee for president on New Year's Eve, visited four cities – Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Storm Lake, and Des Moines – starting Friday and wrapping up Sunday.

During an event in Sioux City Saturday morning, the first question she was asked was why she underwent a DNA test to prove her claims to Native American heritage – a move that critics say derailed her campaign before it even started.

“Why did you undergo the DNA test and give Donald Trump more fodder to be a bully?” asked an attendee.

Warren tried to deflect by first explaining that she was not claiming to be a "person of color" or minority – which, is false, because she has actually done that in the past – and that her comments regarding her ancestry were brought about by “family stories.”

“I am not a person of color. I’m not a citizen of a tribe. Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry. Tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship and I respect that difference," Warren said. "I grew up in Oklahoma and like a lot of folks in Oklahoma, we heard the family stories of our ancestry."

She went on to say that she did the DNA test in an effort to stop Republicans from criticizing her with "racial slurs and a lot of ugly stuff." 

"When I first ran for public office, the first time was in 2012 and the Republicans homed in on this part of my history and thought they could make a lot of hay out of it, a lot of racial slurs and a lot of ugly stuff that went on,” said Warren. “And so my decision was, we’re just going to put it all out there.”

Contrary to what she may have been suggesting, Warren has identified as a minority or "person of color" in the past. 

As The Washington Post reports, "Journalists in Boston started uncovering evidence that suggested that Warren may have known more about Harvard’s promotion of her as Native American than she first let on," referring to Harvard University touting her as “the first woman with a minority background to be tenured.”

"Warren had actually been identifying as a minority for nearly a decade in an official national law school directory, the Association of American Law Schools desk book," the Post goes on. "And the Boston Globe also reported that for at least six years, Harvard University reported to the federal government that it had a Native American law professor. It was a statistic the paper argued was probably reported by Warren herself to the school."

Warren released the results of a DNA test back in October which suggested she was between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American and that her ancestry went back anywhere from six to 10 generations.

President Trump ahead of her Iowa tour trolled Sen. Warren, whom he has often referred to as “Pocahontas,” by tweeting the following campaign slogan created by The Daily Wire:

Warren took the opportunity to slam Trump during the Saturday event in Sioux City by essentially saying that she will be taking the high ground:

"I can't stop Donald Trump from what he's going to do. I can't stop him from hurling racial insults," Warren said. "But what I can do is I can be in this fight for all of our families."

She is worried that her DNA test results have hurt her prospects for 2020, however.

recent report by The New York Times claims that advisers close to the liberal Massachusetts senator “say she has privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with activists, particularly those who are racial minorities.”

(Cover Photo: Flickr/Edward Kimmel)
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