Trump: I’ll Keep Calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas,’ ‘That Name is Too Good to Give Up’

During his Monday pre-midterms rally in Cleveland, Ohio, President Donald Trump told the crowd he intends to keep using his racially-charged, disparaging nickname for Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

As the president went through a litany of his greatest hits before the crowd, he eventually revived his “Pocahontas” jab at Warren for her controversial claims of having Native American ancestry. Trump bragged about supposedly being right that Warren has “no Indian blood,” but said he’ll retain the nickname for her because “that name is too good to give up.”

Warren’s heritage claims were given renewed attention last month when she publicly released a DNA test that she held up as proof of her Native ancestry. However, Warren’s endeavor met with considerable scrutiny for a number of reasons, so Trump seized on that in recent weeks in order to slam her.

[Mediaite]

Trump Mocks Elizabeth Warren at Event: I Have ‘More Indian Blood’ Than She Does

President Donald Trump mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren at an event on Saturday

Appearing at the Future Farmers of America convention in Indiana, Trump delivered a rally-style speech. After speaking out about the mass shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue on Saturday morning that left at least 11 dead, Trump turned to his usual topics.

He apparently referenced Warren’s recent claims to Native American heritage when imagining debating her in the 2020 campaign.

“Maybe Elizabeth Warren is gone,” Trump said. “She may be gone. She may be gone. What a sad thing happened to her. Turned out that I had more Indian blood in me than she has.”

As the crowd began to cheer, Trump continued: “What a sad event. And I have none.”

“We can’t resist,” he added. “Can we resist?”

Trump is also set to hold a rally Saturday afternoon. He said he was considering calling off the political rally after the morning’s mass shooting, but later announced it would go on as planned.

[Mediaite]

Trump: Elizabeth Warren ‘Owes the Country an Apology,’ I’ll Give the Money ‘If I Can Test Her Personally’

President Donald Trump took questions from reporters while in Georgia this afternoon surveying the damage from Hurricane Michael.

And he was asked again for his reaction to Elizabeth Warren––whom he has insulted as “Pocahontas” multiple times––releasing her DNA test today.

One reporter asked the President if he owes her an apology. Trump responded, “She owes the country an apology. What’s the percentage? 1/1000?”

Trump was also asked about the money he offered to Warren to prove Native American heritage and he said this:

“You mean, if she gets the nomination, in a debate, where I was gonna have her tested? I’ll only do it if I can test her personally, okay? That will not be something I enjoy doing either.”

[Mediaite]

Trump says ‘who cares’ after Warren takes DNA test, denies $1 million offer

President Donald Trump claims he “didn’t say” that he would pay $1 million to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren for taking DNA test to review her Native American heritage, after she released the results of one on Monday morning.

“Who cares?” Trump said when asked about the DNA test. When pressed on the once-promised $1 million payment, Trump responded: “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.”

In fact, Trump did promise $1 million, during a July rally, but only if the test showed she was “an Indian.”

At a rally in July, Trump said: “And we will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian … we’ll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no but we will hold it for the debates.”

Warren has released the results of a DNA analysis showing she has distant Native American ancestry in an apparent attempt to pre-empt further questions and attacks should she run for president in 2020.

Warren first faced scrutiny for her purported Native American heritage during her 2012 Senate race. But Trump has revived and amplified the controversy as he eyes Warren as a possible rival, frequently mocking her with the nickname “Pocahontas.”

But Warren now has documentation to back up her family lore — a analysis of her genetic data performed by Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford and adviser to Ancestry and 23 and Me.

Bustamante’s analysis places Warren’s Native American ancestor between six and 10 generations ago, with the report estimating eight generations.
After his initial “who cares” response, Trump said Monday he hopes Warren runs for president because she will be “easy” to beat.

“I hope she’s running for president because I think she’d be very easy. I do not think she’d be very difficult at all,” Trump said, adding: “I don’t want to say bad things about her because I hope she’s one of the people that get through the process.”

Trump added that Warren would turn the US into Venezuela.

[CNN]

Reality

Here is the video of Trump promising to donate $1 million if Warren proved ‘Indian’ ancestry:

Trump: I would offer Warren $1M to prove her Native American heritage

President Trump said Thursday that if he were facing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a debate, he would offer her $1 million to take a test to prove her Native American heritage.

“But let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas, I’ll do this,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Great Falls, Mont., referring to Warren by the racially charged nickname he gave her during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I promise you I’ll do this, you know those little kits they sell on television for $2? Learn your heritage,” Trump said.

“I’m going to get one of those little kits and in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims she’s of Indian heritage — because her mother said she has high cheekbones, that’s her only evidence,” Trump continued.

“We will take that little kit, we have to do it gently because we’re in the “Me Too” generation, we have to be very gentle,” Trump said mocking the movement that seeks to expose sexual misconduct in media, entertainment and politics.

“We will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn’t hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably 2 oz,” he said.

“And we will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian,” Trump said. “And we’ll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no but we will hold it for the debates.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked Warren as “Pocahontas,” most recently doing so at a campaign rally last month in Nevada.

During Thursday’s rally, the president said he wouldn’t apologize to Warren for using the term, but he would apologize to Pocahontas herself.

“Pocahontas, I apologize to you,” Trump said Thursday. “To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t,” he added, referring to Warren.

Warren fired back at Trump on Twitter, accusing him of obsessing over her “genes” while his administration conducts “DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order.”

“Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you’re destroying,” she added.

Warren has acknowledged her past claims that she is of Native American heritage.

“Look, I do know. I know who I am. And never used it for anything. Never got any benefit from it anywhere,” Warren said earlier this year.

[The Hill]

Trump administration to reverse Obama-era guidance on use of race in college admissions

The Trump administration is planning to rescind a set of Obama-era policies that promote using race to achieve diversity in schools, a source familiar with the plans tells CNN.

While the decision does not change current US law on affirmative action it provides a strong illustration on the administration’s position on an issue that could take on renewed attention with the departure of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court.
“The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and—in some instances — stays on the books for decades,” Justice Department spokesperson Devin O’Malley told CNN in a statement. “Last year, the Attorney General initiated a review of guidance documents, which resulted in dozens of examples—including today’s second tranche of rescissions — of documents that go beyond or are inconsistent with the Constitution and federal law. The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing the law and protecting all Americans from all forms of illegal race-based discrimination.”
The Education Department did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
The move, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes as the administration has thrown its weight behind a student group that accuses Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-Americans in its admissions process.
Last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was ending the practice of the Justice Department issuing “guidance documents” that have the “effect of adopting new regulatory requirements or amending the law,” without to going through the formal rulemaking process. As a result, 25 documents were rescinded in December.
The guidance that will be reversed Tuesday provided examples of different educational contexts within which institutions could permissibly consider race.
Tuesday’s reversal also does not affect what a school decides to do on its own within the confines of current Supreme Court precedent, but civil rights groups swiftly reacted with disappointment.
“We condemn the Department of Education’s politically motivated attack on affirmative action and deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation’s colleges and universities,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The rescission of this guidance does not overrule forty years of precedent that affirms the constitutionality of a university’s limited use of race in college admissions. This most recent decision by the Department of Education is wholly consistent with the administration’s unwavering hostility towards diversity in our schools.”
[CNN]

Donald Trump Says ‘our Ancestors Tamed a Continent’ and ‘we Are Not Going to Apologize for America’

President Donald Trump said at a Naval Academy commencement address Friday that “our ancestors tamed a continent,” adding that “we are not going to apologize for America.”

“Together there is nothing Americans can’t do, absolutely nothing,” Trump told 2018 graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. “In recent years, and even decades, too many people have forgotten that truth. They’ve forgotten that our ancestors trounced an empire, tamed a continent, and triumphed over the worst evils in history.”

He added: “America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice and freedom in the history of the world. We have become a lot stronger lately. We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America.”

Before Europeans arrived in what became the United States, Native Americans occupied the land but were forced to relinquish territory as the new Americans pushed westward as part of what was termed “manifest destiny.” In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which led to the deaths of thousands of Native Americans.

Trump previously caused controversy when he held an event honoring Native Americans in the Oval Office last November with a portrait of Jackson in the background. Trump has regularly praised Jackson, although at times with a questionable grasp of history. He has also repeatedly referred to Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed Native American heritage,” as “Pocahontas.”

“A nation must have pride in its history to have confidence in its future,” Trump said Friday. The president’s comments mirrored a tweet he sent out in March celebrating National Agriculture Day.

“Our Nation was founded by farmers,” he wrote. “Our independence was won by farmers. And our continent was tamed by farmers. Our farmers always lead the way — we are PROUD of them, and we are DELIVERING for them! #NationalAgricultureDay

Trump added Friday it was a great time for the graduates to be joining the Navy. “We are witnessing the great reawakening of the American spirit and of American might,” he said. “We have rediscovered our identity, regained our stride and we’re proud again.”

[Newsweek]

Trump challenges Native Americans’ historical standing

The Trump administration says Native Americans might need to get a job if they want to keep their health care — a policy that tribal leaders say will threaten access to care and reverse centuries-old protections.

Tribal leaders want an exemption from new Medicaid work rules being introduced in several states, and they say there are precedents for health care exceptions. Native Americans don’t have to pay penalties for not having health coverage under Obamacare’s individual mandate, for instance.

But the Trump administration contends the tribes are a race rather than separate governments, and exempting them from Medicaid work rules — which have been approved in three states and are being sought by at least 10 others — would be illegal preferential treatment. “HHS believes that such an exemption would raise constitutional and federal civil rights law concerns,” according to a review by administration lawyers.

The Health and Human Services Department confirmed it rebuffed the tribes’ request on the Medicaid rules several times. Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, conveyed the decision in January, and officials communicated it most recently at a meeting with the tribes this month. HHS’ ruling was driven by political appointees in the general counsel and civil rights offices, say three individuals with knowledge of the decision.

Senior HHS officials “have made it clear that HHS is open to considering other suggestions that tribes may have with respect to Medicaid community engagement demonstration projects,” spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said, using the administration’s term for work requirements that can also be fulfilled with job training, education and similar activities.

The tribes insist that any claim of “racial preference” is moot because they’re constitutionally protected as separate governments, dating back to treaties hammered out by President George Washington and reaffirmed in recent decades under Republican and Democratic presidents alike, including the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

“The United States has a legal responsibility to provide health care to Native Americans,” said Mary Smith, who was acting head of the Indian Health Service during the Obama administration and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. “It’s the largest prepaid health system in the world — they’ve paid through land and massacres — and now you’re going to take away health care and add a work requirement?”

Tribal leaders and public health advocates also worry that Medicaid work rules are just the start; President Donald Trump is eyeing similar changes across the nation’s welfare programs, which many of the nearly 3 million Native Americans rely on.

“It’s very troublesome,” said Caitrin McCarron Shuy of the National Indian Health Board, noting that Native Americans suffer from the nation’s highest drug overdose death rates, among other health concerns. “There’s high unemployment in Indian country, and it’s going to create a barrier to accessing necessary Medicaid services.”

Native Americans’ unemployment rate of 12 percent in 2016 was nearly three times the U.S. average, partly because jobs are scarce on reservations. Low federal spending on the Indian Health Service has also left tribes dependent on Medicaid to fill coverage gaps.

“Without supplemental Medicaid resources, the Indian health system will not survive,” W. Ron Allen — a tribal leader who chairs CMS’ Tribal Technical Advisory Group — warned Verma in a Feb. 14 letter.

The Trump administration has allowed three states — Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana — to begin instituting Medicaid work requirements, and at least 10 other states have submitted or are preparing applications. More than 620,000 Native Americans live in those 13 states, according to 2014 Census data. And more states could move in that direction, heightening the impact.

Some states, like Arizona, are asking HHS for permission to exempt Native Americans from their proposed work requirements. But officials at the National Indian Health Board say that may be moot, as federal officials can reject state requests.

Tribal officials say their planning process has been complicated by HHS’ refusal to produce the actual documents detailing why Native Americans can’t be exempted from Medicaid work requirements. “The agency’s official response was that they couldn’t provide that [documentation] because of ongoing, unspecified litigation,” said Devin Delrow of the National Indian Health Board. HHS did not respond to a question about why those documents have not been made available.

While the tribes say they hope to avoid a legal fight, their go-to law firm — Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker LLP — in February submitted a 33-page memo to the Trump administration, sternly warning officials that the health agency was violating its responsibilities.

“CMS has a duty to ensure that [Native Americans] are not subjected to state-imposed work requirements that would present a barrier to their participation in the Medicaid program,” the memo concludes. “CMS not only has ample legal authority to make such accommodations, it has a duty to require them.”

Meanwhile, tribal leaders say the Trump administration has signaled it may be seeking to renegotiate other aspects of the government’s relationship with Native Americans’ health care, pointing to a series of interactions they say break from tradition.

“This doesn’t seem to be isolated to the work requirements,” said McCarron Shuy of the National Indian Health Board.

The Trump administration also targeted the Indian Health Service for significant cuts in last year’s budget, though Congress ignored those cuts in its omnibus funding package last month, H.R. 1625 (115). The White House budget this year proposed eliminating popular initiatives like the decades-old community health representative program — even though tribal health officials say it is essential.

Tribal officials noted that both HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan skipped HHS’ annual budget consultation with tribal leaders in Washington, D.C., last month. The secretary’s attendance is customary; then-HHS Secretary Tom Price joined last year. However, Azar canceled at the last minute. His scheduled replacement, Hargan, fell ill, so Associate Deputy Secretary Laura Caliguri participated in his place. That aggravated tribal leaders who were already concerned about the Trump administration’s policies.

Another point of contention for the tribes is that HHS’ civil rights office — while rejecting Native Americans’ Medicaid request on grounds that they’re seeking an illegal preference — simultaneously announced new protections sought by conservative religious groups.

HHS further stressed that the administration remains committed to Native Americans’ health.

“Secretary Azar, HHS, and the Trump administration have taken aggressive action and will continue to do so to improve the health and well-being for all American Indians and Alaska Natives,” according Oakley, of HHS.

But tribal leaders and public health experts say the administration’s record hasn’t matched its rhetoric. “Work requirements will be devastating,” said Smith, the former Indian Health Service acting director. “I don’t know how you would implement it. There are not jobs to be had on the reservation.”

[Politico]

Zinke tells employees diversity isn’t important

Several employees at the Interior Department have told CNN that Secretary Ryan Zinke repeatedly says that he won’t focus on diversity, an apparent talking point that has upset many people within the agency.

Three high-ranking Interior officials from three different divisions said that Zinke has made several comments with a similar theme, saying “diversity isn’t important,” or “I don’t care about diversity,” or “I don’t really think that’s important anymore.”

Each time, Zinke followed with something along the lines of, “what’s important is having the right person for the right job,” or “I care about excellence, and I’m going to get the best people, and you’ll find we have the most diverse group anyone’s ever had,” the sources said.

Interior last year unexpectedly reassigned 33 senior executive staffers, of which 15 were minorities, according to the lawyer of one of the staffers who was moved. Some of those who were reassigned have filed complaints with the US Merit Systems Board.

The accusations against Zinke come as he is under investigation by multiple agencies, including Interior’s inspector general and Office of Special Counsel, regarding employee reassignment and taxpayer spending on possible politically related travel.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift vehemently denied that Zinke said anything along those lines of criticizing the need for diversity, saying, “the anonymous claims made against the secretary are untrue.”

Swift added, “As a woman who has worked for him for a number of years in senior positions, I say without a doubt this claim is untrue, and I am hopeful that they are a result of a misunderstanding and not a deliberate mistruth.”

Swift pointed to two women and an African-American who Zinke has appointed to senior leadership positions, and said “Zinke has filled several other senior positions at the career and appointed level with individuals from diverse backgrounds.”

But Zinke’s alleged comments were particularly surprising to those who feel the agency has struggled to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

In a hallway meet-and-greet shortly after Zinke was confirmed, one staffer told CNN that Zinke was asked about diversity at Interior, a department with about 68,000 employees, of which more than 70 percent are white, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
“(Zinke) flat out said, ‘I don’t really think that’s important anymore. We don’t need to focus on that anymore.’ He obviously needed someone to provide him with better talking points,” the staffer said.

A similar comment was made during another hallway greeting session with a different group of employees.

“He said it several times. I think it’s just how he speaks – he has his canned talking points,” said the second source, who heard the same comment from Zinke months later at a holiday party.

A third person, someone who is a minority in a leadership position in the department, said he heard a similar comment during a management meeting.

“That told me everything I needed to know,” the person said. “It’s a hard business as it is, and then not to be respected or appreciated for the diverse perspective that you bring to the situation — and that’s why it’s important in my opinion. It’s the fact that we don’t look at things the same way. When we have conversations about public lands and how they’re used, we cannot afford to have a small percentage of people making those decisions.”

Zinke came under fire from the public and at least one member of Congress earlier this month over remarks seen by some as insensitive. In testimony before the House Natural Resources committee, he greeted Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) with the Japanese greeting “Konichiwa” after she told a story about her grandparents being held in internment camps during World War II, and asked why he was cutting funding to preserve those sites.

Days later, after numerous news stories calling the remarks inappropriate, Zinke doubled down in a comment to reporters, saying “How could ever saying ‘Good morning’ be bad?”

[CNN]

Trump vetoed Miss Universe contestants for being ‘too ethnic’ or ‘too dark-skinned’

Earlier this year, a report emerged claiming that President Donald Trump would personally rig the Miss Universe pageant to benefit contestants from countries where he had business relationships.

Now a new report published by Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones’ David Corn claims that Trump would also veto certain contestants if he deemed them to be “too ethnic.”

Specifically, one former Miss Universe staffer tells them that Trump would personally “make changes” to the list of finalists “if there were too many women of color” on it.

Another former Miss Universe staffer similarly tells them that Trump would weed out candidates who were too “dark-skinned.”

“He often thought a woman was too ethnic or too dark-skinned,” the staffer explains. “He had a particular type of woman he thought was a winner. Others were too ethnic. He liked a type. There was Olivia Culpo, Dayanara Torres [the 1993 winner], and, no surprise, East European women.”

One former staffer does say, however, that Trump could be persuaded to change his mind about a woman of color being worthy of his pageant “by telling him she was a princess and married to a football player.”

[RawStory]

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