Elizabeth Warren apologizes at Native American forum for ‘harm’ she caused with ancestry claims: ‘I have made mistakes'
Elizabeth Warren apologized Monday for the “harm” she inflicted by claiming Native American ancestry — the second time she’s done so in an apparent attempt to nip the controversy in the bud before it’s used against her in the 2020 race.
The Massachusetts senator, speaking at a Native American forum in Sioux City, Iowa, offered the stark mea culpa at the outset of a speech otherwise focused on a policy blueprint aimed at helping tribal communities in the U.S.
“Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” Warren said. “I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we’ve had together.”
Warren, who’s among five top-polling Democratic presidential candidates, added, “It is a great honor to be able to partner with Indian Country, and that’s what I’ve tried to do as a senator, and that’s what I promise I will do as president.”
Warren issued a similar apology shortly before launching her 2020 bid in February.
The initial apology came after Warren faced intense criticism from some tribal leaders for releasing results of a DNA test showing she had distant Native American ancestry.
She dropped the results amid revelations that she had identified herself on government forms as Native American while working as a law professor. Advocates and some Democrats expressed outrage over the matter and accused Warren of cultural appropriation.
President Trump made a big deal of Warren’s ancestry claims and has derisively nicknamed her “Pocahontas” — a moniker that critics say is offensive and racist.
None of Warren’s fellow 2020 Democrats have come after her over the ancestry controversy. However, should Warren become the Democratic nominee, Trump would all but certainly use it as political ammunition.
Trump’s reelection campaign confirmed as much after Warren’s Monday remarks.
“Elizabeth Warren’s apology is about as genuine as her claimed Native American heritage,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Erin Perrine told the Daily News. "She used her Native American ‘status’ to advance her career...She’s not apologizing for her decades-long dishonesty, she’s sorry for the harm she caused to her own campaign for president.”
Once she got the ancestry debacle out of the way at the Sioux City event, Warren expanded on a string of Native American-focused policy proposals announced by her campaign on Friday. The plan proposes to safeguard tribal sovereignty while also tackling issues like criminal justice, health care and economic development in tribal communities.
The two-day Native American forum will feature speeches from some of Warren’s 2020 rivals, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Housing secretary Julian Castro.