President Donald Trump has been scrutinized for calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” dozens of times, but the president took his Native American jokes a step further by referencing violent events, and he’s getting pushback from all sides.
Trump tweeted about Warren on Sunday, mocking her for an Instagram live video she recorded earlier in the week in her kitchen.
“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!” he tweeted Sunday.
If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash! pic.twitter.com/D5KWr8EPan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Invoking Bighorn and Wounded Knee in his joke crossed a line for many, including Republican senators. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, where the Wounded Knee Massacre took place, condemned the president’s joke with a string of tweets Monday. Rounds pointed out that over 200 Lakota tribe members were murdered at the massacre, including women and children.
SD, where the Wounded Knee Massacre took place, is currently home to nearly 80k enrolled tribal members. On that day in 1890 more than 200 Lakota men, women and children were killed.
— Senator Mike Rounds (@SenatorRounds) January 15, 2019
“The Wounded Knee Massacre was one of the darkest moments in our history. It should never be used as a punchline,” he continued on Twitter.
@POTUS to join me in visiting South Dakota’s tribal communities. We must strive to always work together, improve relationships, celebrate our diversity and mend our history through reconciliation & mutual respect.”
Sen. John Thune, the second Republican senator of South Dakota, didn’t have as public of a response as his colleague but told reporters that he wished Trump would tweet less. “Well, I wish he wouldn’t do that,” he said about the Trump tweet.
The criticism toward Trump didn’t stop with politicians. The National Congress of American Indians issued a statement after the tweet came out, expressing hope that the president would be more understanding of Native American history.
NCAI President Jefferson Keel wrote in the statement:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the casual and callous use of these events as part of a political attack. Hundreds of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho people lost their lives at the hands of the invading U.S. Army during these events, and their memories should not be desecrated as a rhetorical punch line.”
Trump has not issued an apology for the tweet. What the president did condemn was Rep. Rashida Tlaib calling Trump a “motherf****r.”
“I thought her comments were disgraceful,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House last week. “This is a person that I don’t know, I assume she’s new. I think she dishonored herself and I think she dishonored her family. Using language like that in front of her son and whoever else was there, I thought that was a great dishonor to her and to her family.”