In a tweet on Saturday mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with the racist nickname “Pocahontas,” President Donald Trump appeared to make a joke about the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of Native Americans in the 1800s that led to thousands of deaths.
“Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for president. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” Trump wrote.
Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
Trump’s tweet, with its all-caps emphasis on “trail,” was immediately interpreted as an intentional joke about the Trail of Tears.
“He’s making fun of genocide. Putting particular emphasis on the word ‘TRAIL’ when mocking Natives is a sure nod to the Trail of Tears where thousands of Native people died,” wrote journalist Ruth Hopkins.
While some pointed out that there are plenty of reasons to question Trump’s knowledge of history, Politico reporter Cristiano Lima and others highlighted the president’s recent joke about the Wounded Knee massacre and his idolization of President Andrew Jackson as evidence that the “trail” reference was deliberate.
For those questioning if Trump meant to go there I submit his jab at Warren referencing the Wounded Knee massacre: https://t.co/e6hJuIvs9z
And his praise of Andrew Jackson, who began the Native American relocation policy that led to the Trail of Tears: https://t.co/IOA9kGfmUa
— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) February 9, 2019
Please stop saying he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He mocked those who were massacred at Wounded Knee and now he is targeting those killed on the Trail of Tears. His racism against Native people is informed and purposeful. https://t.co/XOswfQ7Y6G
— Ruth H. Hopkins (@RuthHHopkins) February 10, 2019
Lots of people really trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt and say he wasn’t referring to the Trail of Tears. Uh… it was only a couple weeks ago he made a Wounded Knee joke pic.twitter.com/dH1qyACTXp
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) February 9, 2019