Dear Commons Community,
It is amazing how often President Trump shows his lack of grace and dignity and he was at it again yesterday during a ceremony honoring three Navajo World War II veterans. Trump could not resist making a derogatory comment by referring to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas”. As reported by the New York Times:
“President Trump on Monday transformed a White House ceremony to honor Navajo veterans of World War II into a racially charged controversy, using the event as a platform to deride Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
Standing in the Oval Office alongside three Navajo code talkers, whom he called “very, very special people,” Mr. Trump dispensed with his prepared remarks and took aim at Ms. Warren without naming her, resurrecting a favorite nickname as the veterans stood stonefaced.
“You were here long before any of us were here,” Mr. Trump said to the veterans, ages 90 and older, who wore their military uniforms for the occasion, juxtaposed with turquoise and silver, hallmarks of Navajo culture. “Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
He made the remarks while standing in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson — a favorite of Mr. Trump’s — who served as the nation’s seventh president and signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which resulted in the mass displacement and deaths of Native Americans often referred to as the Trail of Tears.
The comment made for an awkward moment during an otherwise uplifting event, organized to pay tribute to the contributions of the young Native Americans recruited by the United States military to create top-secret coded messages used to communicate during battles. And it was the latest instance of a president who relishes any opportunity to land a hit against a political opponent, veering sharply off-script with divisive speech and quickly setting off a furor.
Mr. Trump was referring, as he often has, to Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, a former Harvard Law School professor who came under fire in 2012 after it emerged that, during her academic career, she identified herself as a minority, citing Native American roots.
The comment drew swift rebukes from Native American leaders, including one who was present for the ceremony. Russell Begaye, the president of the Navajo Nation, called the president’s mention of Pocahontas “derogatory” and “disrespectful to Indian nations.”
“This is something that unfortunately came up during the campaign and it seems to have stuck in the mind of the president, something that he continues to use, to take a jab at the senator,” Mr. Begaye said in an interview. “The campaign is over. The nation needs to move forward, and using Native Americans in this way, in this type of honoring setting is something that should not be happening.”
His comments again show Trump as an embarrassment to himself, the presidency, and the American people!