The US President may mockingly refer to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas, but unlike the between-two-worlds Native American princess there’s no doubt which side the Democrat is on – and it’s certainly not Donald Trump’s.
The 69-year-old from Massachusetts who has become one of the main foils to the Trump presidency got under his skin again this week with the release of DNA test results on her disputed ancestry.
Political satirist Stephen Colbert summed up her dramatic move by noting: “This test accurately reveals, with high confidence, that Elizabeth Warren is running for president.”
Facing re-election at the mid-term polls, the teacher turned law academic has long said her thoughts on a presidential run would become clearer after November 6.
Instead she’s gone early, clearing the decks on one of the key questions over her candidacy with a six-minute video detailing the test that ‘proved’ she has a Native American pedigree.
In the video the senator explains that her native heritage was claimed by ”family identity” via her mother, rather than any tribal recognition.
But she is unequivocal that “my family’s history is my family’s history”.
The DNA test shows Ms Warren has Native American heritage from “six to 10 generations ago”, gazumping Mr Trump’s million-dollar bet that Ms Warren was lying.
Millions of people watched you, @realDonaldTrump, as you fumbled and lied on your $1 million pledge. It then took a day for your handlers to tee up this recycled racist name-calling. You’ve lost a step, and in 21 days, you’re going to lose Congress.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 16, 2018
This week’s advertisement also lays out Ms Warren’s career as a teacher, lawyer and academic, with her former employers rejecting suggestions that she gained an advantage by identifying as a Native American.
The Senator has since garnered criticism, neutrality and support from the three federally recognised Cherokee tribes – highlighting the division the issue can cause and why Mr Trump has long sought to exploit it.
Who is Elizabeth Warren?
Born in Oklahoma City Ms Warren is considered a progressive Democrat, hailing from a middle-class family of six that struggled with healthcare bills after her ‘maintenance man’ father had a heart attack when she was 12.
Her website says three of her older brothers served in the military and Ms Warren earned a scholarship into university before dropping out to get married. She later resumed studies before beginning her long-sought teaching career.
Ms Warren balanced work, study and motherhood, ultimately practising law and becoming a professor at Harvard Law School.
Interestingly – as she contemplates going head to head with the wheeling-and-dealing Mr Trump – she was long considered one of America’s top experts on bankruptcy, although her work was in the context of the economic struggles of middle-class families.
Elected a senator in 2012 Ms Warren had earlier played key advisory roles in the wake of the global financial crisis and was an advocate for holding bank executives to account for their failings.
Views on US trade with Asia
Ms Warren visited north east Asia earlier this year and offered the view that the Trump administration’s policies on trade and defence were confusing to America’s allies in the region.
“This has been a chaotic foreign policy in the region, and that makes it hard to keep the allies that we need to accomplish our objectives closely stitched in,” Warren told AP at the time.
As a senator she battled with President Barack Obama over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Australia had supported until the US under Mr Trump refused to ratify the agreement.
Ms Warren had also claimed that the TPP gave corporations too much power and would have adverse results for American workers.
It is this stated connection to the struggles of middle Americans that is considered her biggest strength in any move to claim the Democratic nomination in 2020.
While actively considered as a running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016, it was thought by party elders that two women at the top of the ticket may have been a bridge too far.
Ms Warren’s recent opposition to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has further highlighted her advocacy for women suffering abuse and discrimination and lent weight to the chances of another female candidate.
The New York Times said Ms Warren described the Kavanaugh hearings as a spectacle of “powerful men helping a powerful man make it to an even more powerful position”.
“I watched that and I thought: Time’s up,” the Times reported.
“It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top.”