Navajo Code Talkers behind Trump as he makes racist joke.
Published November 27, 2017
WASHINGTON – Displaying his usual ignorance and normal insensitivity, President Donald Trump on Monday made reference to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” at a White House ceremony slated to honor American Indian Code Talkers.
“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said to the group. “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. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special.”
The purpose of the day’s event was to honor all American Indian Code Talkers who used their native languages to encode sensitive messages and protect U.S. wartime communications in both World Wars I and II.
The remark prompted immediate backlash.
“First and foremost, we appreciate the honor and recognition that has been bestowed upon the Navajo Code Talkers, who truly are National Treasures and protectors of freedom,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said.
The reference to Sen. Warren as “Pocahontas” is a part of an ongoing feud between the senator and President Trump over statements Warren had made to have American Indian heritage during her Senate campaign.
“In this day and age, all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people. The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy,” President Begaye said. “As Native Americans, we are proud people who have taken care of this land long before there was the United States of America and we will continue to fight for this Nation.”
“It was our Code Talkers that ensured the freedom of the United States and that’s what is important to remember here,” President Begaye said.
President Begaye said the Navajo Nation does not want to engage in this dialogue between Sen. Warren and President Trump.
U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued this statement reacting to President Trump’s racist slur during a ceremony honoring Native American Code Talkers:
“The president should study his history. The Native American Code Talkers are true war heroes whose patriotism and honor during World War II helped ensure our victory against oppression and hatred. The Code Talkers gave back to their country by sharing their language even though they were born into a nation that often denied them their most basic civil rights and even when they faced bigotry and injustice in their own lands. Donald Trump’s racist joke – during Native American Heritage Month no less – demeaned the contributions that the Code Talkers and countless other Native American patriots and citizens have made to our great country. This moment in history won’t overshadow the contribution the Code Talkers made and continue to make to our nation. But racist comments like that are never acceptable, and are in especially poor taste against the backdrop of Andrew Jackson’s portrait. The days when the President of the United States was held as a moral authority around the world were over 11 months ago, but at what should have been a solemn ceremony to honor Native veterans, Donald Trump took low even lower.”