Liz Cheney describes Elizabeth Warren's false claim of Cherokee heritage as a "disgrace"

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, condemned Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a "disgrace"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 10, 2019 3:45PM (EST)

Liz Cheney           (AP/Matt Young)
Liz Cheney (AP/Matt Young)

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., referred to Democratic presidential prospect and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a "disgrace" and "laughingstock" for having falsely claimed to be a Cherokee.

During an appearance CNN's "State of the Union," host Jake Tapper asked Cheney about a Saturday tweet by President Donald Trump that ridiculed the genocidal Trail of Tears in order to score political points against Warren.

"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 in his tweet.

Cheney dodged Tapper's question and instead focused on the implications of Warren misrepresenting her heritage.

"I have concerns about somebody like Elizabeth Warren pretending to be a Native American," Cheney told Tapper. "You're absolutely right, I do represent thousands of Native Americans here in Wyoming, and the notion that anybody of any political party would pretend that they were a member of a tribe or would pretend that they were Native American — and would do it, as she seems to have done it, in order to get benefits — that is in my view the disgrace. She's made herself a laughingstock."

She added, "I wonder whether or not anybody around her is saying it's time to say this just isn't going to work, because I think at this point each time she tries to take one more step to show that she wasn't claiming membership in a tribe or claiming that she wasn't Native American in order to get benefits, we see that it wasn't true."

When Tapper repeated his question about Trump's tweet, Cheney once again avoided that subject and returned to her attacks on Warren.

"Elizabeth Warren has made herself a laughingstock and I don't think anybody should be surprised that that's been the reaction to her and to her continued claims," Cheney claimed. She also speculated that Warren might get disbarred for misrepresenting herself as "American Indian" on a hand-written registration card filed in 1986 with the Texas bar.

While Warren has apologized for submitting that card and has admitted that she is neither of predominantly Native American ancestry nor a member of any tribe, it wasn't the only occasion when she was caught dishonestly depicting her heritage. She described herself as Cherokee in an Oklahoma cookbook called "Pow Wow Chow," identified as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Faculty from 1986 to 1995 and was described as Native American in a 1996 article by the student-run college newspaper the Harvard Crimson.

At the same time, Trump has been harshly criticized for repeatedly referring to Warren as "Pocahontas," an epithet that is offensive to all Native Americans rather than simply singling out Warren for her misrepresentations.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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All Salon Cherokee Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Liz Cheney Native American News & Politics