Trump repeats ‘Pocahontas’ jibe in address to Native Americans

US president uses racially-tinged name about Democratic senator during White House ceremony

US president Donald Trump delivers remarks alongside Navajo code talkers during an event at the White House on Monday. Photograph: Tom Brenner/New York Times

US president Donald Trump delivers remarks alongside Navajo code talkers during an event at the White House on Monday. Photograph: Tom Brenner/New York Times

 

US president Donald Trump punctuated a meeting with Native American veterans on Monday by calling Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” – a racially tinged nickname he has deployed for years to belittle one of his chief Democratic antagonists.

“You’re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” Mr Trump told three Navajo “code talkers” in a White House ceremony while standing in front of a portrait of former president Andrew Jackson, who led military attacks on Native Americans in the early 19th century.

Mr Trump paused. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

Some people in the audience laughed, but the Navajo veterans didn’t react. The code talkers were recruited by the Marines during the second World War to communicate using their native language and stymie Japanese code breakers.

Mr Trump calls Ms Warren “Pocahontas” as a jab at her self-identification as being of Native American heritage. Reporting on Ms Warren’s family is inconclusive about whether she is actually descended from Native Americans.

“Goofy Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, pretended to be a Native American in order to advance her career. Very racist!” Mr Trump tweeted in June 2016.

Native American groups have criticised Mr Trump’s use of the name of the 17th century young woman in the Powhatan tribe. – Bloomberg