Yes, Trump Just Made a Pocahontas Joke to Navajo Code Talkers
Though no one was laughing.
screenshot via WhiteHouse.gov
This article originally appeared on VICE US
If you aren't already one of the majority of Americans who's embarrassed by our current president, then you may just want to see how Trump treated the Navajo code talkers he met with at the White House on Monday afternoon.
According to CBS News, a White House event on Monday was supposed to honor some of the 13 surviving Navajo who helped the US military in both world wars by using their unwritten language as code to share vital information. Standing alongside three Navajo war heroes, Trump somehow managed to turn a short speech about gratitude into a racist joke about Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren:
"You're very very special people. You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago," Trump says in the video. "They call her Pocahontas. But you know what. I like you. Because you are special."
Trump, of course, was speaking about Warren, who has claimed to have Cherokee and Delaware tribal heritage. There's no documentation to prove that claim—she has said she was just going off family stories about her ancestry—but neither is there proof that Warren lied about being Native in order to get jobs, as some of her critics have alleged. Republicans have attacked Warren over the issue before, but the "Pocahontas" nickname is all Trump's doing.
"It is deeply unfortunate that President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur," Warren told CBS after the event.
Later on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about the incident by saying, "I think what most people find offensive is Sen. Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career."
While cringeworthy, Trump's comment Monday was hardly surprising. He turned his Black History Month comments into a rant about fake news, botched the name of an African country at the UN, and launched paper towels at Puerto Rican hurricane victims. And while his inability to properly load a pickup truck with supplies might have been funny and equally embarrassing, on Monday no one was laughing.