Signalling even more strongly her intent to run for president, and to forcefully confront President Donald Trump, Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday released the results of a DNA test that she said indicated she had Native American ancestry.
There is “strong evidence” that Ms Warren has Native American pedigree “6-10 generations ago,” according to a document she released from Carlos Bustamante, a renowned geneticist from Stanford University. The error rate is less than one in 1000, he said.
In releasing a DNA test, the Democrat was rebutting the taunts of Mr Trump and other conservatives, who have mocked her as “Pocahontas” and claimed she used her heritage to gain an advantage when she was a law professor.
But she also went further, creating a fact-check website that details her Indian ancestry, Oklahoma roots and includes documents that she says make clear her heritage “had no role whatsoever” in her academic career.
And in a carefully choreographed video that featured interviews with her conservative relatives, her former law school colleagues, and Bustamante – as well as clips of the president mocking her – Ms Warren fires what amounts to a warning shot against Mr Trump.
It features footage from a rally that Mr Trump held earlier this year in which he vowed to contribute $1 million to Warren’s favourite charity if she took a DNA test and it showed she had Native American roots.
Then, as she talks to the geneticist over a speaker phone, Warren says: “Now the president likes to call my mother a liar, what do the facts say?” before she is told she “absolutely” has Native American ancestry.
The video is only the latest element of a months long effort by Ms Warren, who is facing re-election next month, to prepare for a presidential bid and to inoculate herself against attacks from both Democrats and Republicans.
She previously disclosed academic records indicating she did not use her ancestry to win preferential treatment as a law professor, released 10 years of tax returns and has sought to cultivate ties with the country’s Native American tribes.
Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday morning, Mr Trump denied his earlier recorded pledge to make the charitable contribution if Warren proved her heritage.
“Who cares, who cares?” he said, “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.”
-New York Times