Nobody puts a nickname on political opponents to more devastating effect than President Trump. “Pocahontas” may well dog Elizabeth Warren for the rest of her career. From David Cantanese at usnews.com:
If she decides to challenge President Trump in 2020, Warren will have to relitigate a controversy that first ignited in 2012.
When President Donald Trump casually invoked “Pocahontas” during a ceremony honoring Native Americans on Monday, Washington’s political class swiftly went into its familiar and usually unfulfilling ritual of trying to decipher his deeper intentions.
Was he attempting to purposefully distract media coverage away from the White House’s skirmish with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Was he simply reaching for cheap levity among a group he was largely unfamiliar with?Or did he view it as an irresistible opportunity to strike at a reoccurring political nemesis who he views as a gathering threat to his re-election prospects in 2020?
The president first deemed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts “Pocahontas” in May of 2016. After Trump had become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Warren began coming at him hard on Twitter, vowing to battle his “toxic stew of hatred & insecurity.”
Never allowing an attack to go unanswered, Trump responded in kind on his favorite social media platform, blasting her “phony Native American heritage.”
When The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd phoned Trump to ask him if Republicans were chafing at his Twitter-feud with Warren at a time he should be presenting a unifying posture, he replied, “You mean Pocahontas?,” thus producing another memorable caricature.
Trump’s reignition of the racially-charged slight reinforced his complete disregard for politically correct boundaries. It illustrated his affinity for branding his opponents with pithy nicknames in order to degrade their stature. But it also reopened a controversy for Warren that even some Democrats say she mishandled during her 2012 campaign.
And if she runs for the White House in 2020, the “Pocahontas” problem won’t go away. She’ll need a pithier, clear-throated response to those hearing the details for the first time and a way to turn the tables on Trump.