Sen. Elizabeth Warren is standing behind her decision to take a DNA test to prove her claims of ancestral ties with the Native American Cherokee and Delaware tribes, but the reactions to the test are creating a cloud over her likely 2020 presidential campaign.
Conservatives are continuing to ridicule her, reports The New York Times, and potential supporters and liberal political operatives claim she has put too much emphasis into racial science and played into President Donald Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunts, reports The New York Times.
Further, the test and announcement angered Native American critics and racial justice advocates, who say her actions backed the idea that blood determines race.
Warren has had several private talks with Native American leaders after taking the DNA test, making clear she is not claiming tribal citizenships. However, advisers close to her say she is concerned she may have damaged her relationships with Native Americans and progressive activists, especially those who are racial minorities.
Several outside advisers say she should consider apologizing, and that she will have to face the issue if she announces a presidential campaign.
Warren, though, when asked if she regrets the test, said she “put it out there. It’s on the internet for anybody to see. People can make of it what they will.”
However, even her allies say by taking the test, Warren was too reactive to Trump, who won’t likely back down from his taunts, and she distracted from her economic populism message.
Jennifer Epps-Addison, co-director for the Center for Popular Democracy, said Warren needs a “reconciliation” which should center on “native voices and make sure that their stories of loss and theft of identity come front and center, not, you know, one white woman’s tale of understanding her DNA.”
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