News and Commentary

Trump Rips Warren As ‘Total Fraud’ After Cherokee Nation Rejects Her DNA Test

President Donald Trump on Tuesday called Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new claims to have Native American heritage a “scam and a lie,” one day after the Massachusetts Democrat senator released DNA test results that show she’s between 0.097% and 0.156% American Indian.

“Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American.”

Trump also said Warren should apologize “for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public” and that Harvard “would not have taken her” if she hadn’t claimed to be part of a minority group.

And Trump cited a statement from the Cherokee Nation which called Warren’s attempted use of the DNA test to “prove” her heritage “inappropriate” and accused the senator of “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Trump referred to a statement from Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., who said “Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Hoskin said. “Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven.”

Warren, who released the DNA test results on Monday in preparation to run for president in 2020, later backtracked from statements in which she said that a “famous geneticist analyzed my DNA and concluded that it contains Native American ancestry.” Instead, she said that “DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only – only – by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don’t list myself as Native in the Senate.”

But Warren listed herself as Native for years in the Association of American Law School Directory, and according to the Boston Globe, she “had her ethnicity changed from white to Native American at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she taught from 1987 to 1995, and at Harvard University Law School, where she was a tenured faculty member starting in 1995.”

Warren even submitted recipes to a Native American cookbook called “Pow Wow Chow,” which was released in 1984 by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Okla. She signed her entries “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee.”

The DNA test results by no means concluded that Warren is part Indian. The results showed “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but Professor Carlos Bustamante of Stanford University said that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.”

What’s more, the study was based not on Native American DNA, but on Mexican, Peruvian, and Colombian DNA.