The Montana rally came with more controversies, too.
President Trump launched a sustained attack against Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during one freewheeling moment, reviving his “Pocahontas” nickname for Warren and challenged her to submit to a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage.
“I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian,” he said. “I have a feeling she will say no. She’s based her life on being a minority.”
The president clarified that he would toss the genetic testing kit to her “gently because we’re the #MeToo generation,” a comment which mocks the international movement against sexual harassment and assault which, among many other examples, spotlighted his own sordid history of abuse and emphasized comments he made on the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape.
The irony of these comments appeared to be lost on Trump, who further used the social movement to impugn Warren:
I’m gonna get one of those little kits. And in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she’s from Indian heritage, because her mother says she has high cheekbones. That’s her only evidence, that her mother said she had high cheekbones.
We will take that little kit and say — but we have to do it gently, because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle. And 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 two ounces.
President Trump appears to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a rally in Montana, promising to ask her to complete a test for the results of her heritage.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 6, 2018
Warren soon responded to the president’s jabs, taking his administration to task for the humanitarian crisis they’ve created––and exacerbated––along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting 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.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 5, 2018
Warren’s response was a reference to reports that the U.S. government is performing DNA tests on children and parents in an attempt to reunite migrant families separated at the border as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” family separations policy.
The Department of Health and Human Services will be conducting DNA tests by taking a cheek swab of every child before matching him or her with a parent. The move comes after a federal judge in the Southern District of California ordered that the government must reunite parents separated from children younger than 5 by July 10 and children ages 5-17 by July 26.
The president––and many of Warren’s critics––have alleged that Warren used false claims of Native American heritage to gain an edge over other candidates for a faculty position at Harvard University. However, a simple fact check indicates that these claims don’t hold under scrutiny.
As Snopes notes, “specific evidence that she gained her position at Harvard (at least in part) through her claims to Native American heritage is lacking.” Moreover, several people with whom Warren worked at Harvard, including David Bernstein, who is the former chairman of the American Association of Law Schools, have said that her ancestral background did not factor into the professional opportunities she received while employed at Harvard.