Yesterday, President Donald Trump created a firestorm of controversy when he tossed out his favorite insult for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during a White House event honoring World War II Navajo code talkers. Yep, the president actually tried to joke about “Pocahontas.”
Following the president’s comments, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that Trump’s remarks weren’t offensive, instead insisting it was Warren who was the one offending by possibly misrepresenting her Native American heritage. However, Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye later sent out a statement indicating that he found Trump’s quip to be insensitive and bigoted while also noting that the code talkers shouldn’t be placed in the middle of his political scraps.
This morning, Begaye appeared on cable news to discuss Trump’s comments and how they were racially offensive. After telling CNN’s New Day that Trump’s use of “Pocahontas” was obviously a “racial slur,” Begaye appeared on MSNBC’s Velshi and Ruhle, and once again asserted that Trump had used prejudicial language.
After stating that the ceremony was meant to highlight the accomplishments and heroism of the code talkers, Begaye criticized the president for undermining the whole thing.
“And so in the middle of that, to throw in the word Pocahontas that was used on the campaign trail and doesn’t belong there is — this is where we’re honoring and respecting our veterans,” he exclaimed. “Especially our code talkers. And to put in a slur that has become racial — Pocahontas — didn’t belong there. It was inappropriate. It was not a time to do it. It was not the place to do it.”
Begaye also said that Trump’s language “kind of ruined the whole ceremony” but that Native Americans are “still holding our heads high” and will “continue to outlive any kind of racial remarks.”
He was also asked about Trump holding the ceremony in a room with an Andrew Jackson portrait, considering Jackson’s treatment of American Indians that included the notorious Indian Removal Act. Begaye discussed some of the history of Jackson before stating that “we survived him” and Native Americans will “survive every president from here on into the future.”
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]