Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test release fuels speculation of presidential run

Massachusetts senator’s test shows ‘strong evidence’ of her Native American heritage

US president Donald Trump has denied that he offered senator Elizabeth Warren $1 million, to the charity of her choice, if she would undergo a DNA test to prove that she has Native-American heritage. Video: Elizabeth Warren/The White House

 

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday released a DNA test showing “strong evidence” of her Native American heritage, fuelling expectation that she is considering a run for the US presidency in 2020.

Ms Warren has been a regular target of President Donald Trump, who has questioned her claims to native American roots, dubbing her “Pocahontas”, a reference to the 17th century native American woman who married an early English settler.

Ms Warren released the results of a DNA study completed by Stanford University professor Carlos D Bustamante. It found that while she has predominantly European ancestry, her DNA also has a native-American segment dating back six to 10 generations.

Nothing to hide

“I took this test and released the results for anyone who cares to see because I’ve got nothing to hide. What are YOU hiding?”, the senator asked on Twitter, in a question directed at Mr Trump. “Release your tax returns – or the Democratic-led House will do it for you soon enough. Tick-tock, Mr President.”

A former Harvard professor who has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 2012, Ms Warren was born and raised in Oklahoma. She has often spoke of how her grandmother told her that she was descended from Cherokee heritage.

Asked about Ms Warren’s decision to publish results of the test, Mr Trump replied “who cares?” as he boarded a flight to Florida to survey the damage from Hurricane Michael. The president said at a rally in Montana in July that he would give Ms Warren $1 million if she took a DNA test proving she was “an Indian”.

He also said on Monday he would welcome Ms Warren as an opponent for the 2020 presidential race. “I hope she’s running for president, because I think she’d be very easy,” he said. “She’ll destroy the country. She’ll make our country into Venezuela. ”

He added: “With that being said, I don’t want to say bad things about her, because I hope she would be one of the people that would get through the process. It’s going to be a long process for the Democrats.”

Ms Warren said last month she would take a “hard look” at running for the Democratic nomination to take on Mr Trump in 2020.

Renewed speculation

Announcing the results of the test on Monday, Ms Warren challenged the president to pay her the $1 million he promised in July and donate it to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

“NIWRC is a nonprofit working to protect Native women from violence,” she wrote. “More than half of all Native women have experienced sexual violence, and the majority of violent crimes against Native Americans are perpetrated by non-Natives. Send them your $1m check.”

The renewed speculation about Ms Warren’s presidential ambitions came as a new CNN poll found that Joe Biden is the favoured candidate among registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to run against Mr Trump in 2020.  

A third of those surveyed opted for the former vice-president, with former candidate Bernie Sanders in second place with 13 per cent support. Ms Warren secured 8 per cent backing, just behind California senator Kamala Harris on 9 per cent.