President Trump has come under scrutiny for a recent comment he made during an event recognizing Native Americans. While hosting three Navajo code talkers, who were pivotal to the success of World War II, Trump referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” in his remarks.
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“You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
Trump then proceeded to look towards the three veterans and said, “but do you know what? I like you.”
In the video, the three code talkers did not respond to the president’s remarks. Throughout the duration of the video, Trump continued to reference the term “Pocahontas” before bringing White House chief of staff John Kelly to the podium.
According to The Hill, Warren responded to Trump’s remarks later on in the day. “This was supposed to be an event to honor heroes, people who put it all on the line for our country,” Warren said. “It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States can’t even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without throwing out a racial slur.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president’s remarks by stating: “I think what most people find offensive is Sen. Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.” According to Huckabee, Warren claimed she was part Native American to further advance her career in the 2010 Senate election.
Numerous outlets also cited that President Trump reference Kelly as “Chief.” “He’s the general and the chief,” Trump said. “I said, how good were these code talkers? He said, ‘Sir, you have no idea. You have no idea how great they were.’”
Only 13 Navajo veterans survive today. One veteran, Peter MacDonald who was standing next to Trump, said he had a beautiful speech written out but didn’t read it.
During World War II, the American military used Native American tribes to disseminate sensitive information using their native language.
According to CBS News, the enemy could never decipher what was being said. The Native American code talkers kept the movement and location of thousands of troops safe during the war.