Trump has a long, shameful history of racist attacks on Native Americans.
Donald Trump couldn’t make it through a brief White House ceremony on Monday honoring Native America World War II heroes without leveling a gratuitous and bizarre attack on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Unable to conduct himself with the slightest bit of dignity for five minutes, Trump dredged up the racist “Pocahontas” slur to mock Warren, who had absolutely nothing to do with the World War II remembrance.
But of course, most of Trump’s racist tropes stretch back decades and are not new for him. His mocking of Native American culture is no different —it’s just part of who he is, and it fuels his racist worldview.
In 1993, Trump testified before a House subcommittee that the mafia was running rampant in Native American gaming casinos. At the time, Trump oversaw casinos in Atlantic City and was watching the gambling business move to tribal-run resorts in place like Connecticut — and Trump was not pleased.
“If you look, if you look at some of the reservations that you’ve approved, that you, sir, in your great wisdom have approved, I will tell you right now — they don’t look like Indians to me,” he told Rep. George Miller (D-CA).
Miller then delivered a memorable smackdown:
MILLER: Thank God that’s not the test of whether or not people have rights in this country or not — whether or not they pass your “look” test.
TRUMP: Depends whether or not. … Yeah. Depends whether or not you’re approving it, sir.
MILLER: No, no, it’s not a question of whether or not I’m approving it. It’s not a question of what I’m approving it. Mr. Trump, do you know, do you know in the history of this country where we’ve heard this discussion before? “They don’t look Jewish to me?”
TRUMP: Oh, really.
MILLER: “They don’t look Indian to me.” “They don’t look Italian to me.”
MILLER: And that was the test for whether people could go into business, or not go into business. Whether they could get a bank loan. You’re too black, you’re not black enough.
TRUMP: I want to find out. … Well, then why don’t you — you’re approving for Indian. Why don’t you approve it for everybody then, sir?
Note that John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, made clear today that Trump’s nickname for Warren “smacks of racism.”
“The reference is using a historic American Indian figure as a derogatory insult and that’s insulting to all American Indians,” Norwood said. He added that the president should “stop using our historical people of significance as a racial slur against one of his opponents.”
Sadly, Trump seems immune to common decency.