Trump’s ‘trail’ tweet tastelessly takes attention away from candidacy, issues


Warren took a DNA test that revealed strong native ancestry from six to 10 generations ago, according to the New York Times.

On Saturday, President Trump posted yet another insensitive tweet, this time in response to Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential candidacy announcement. In an apparent reference to the Trail of Tears, Trump disparaged her Native American heritage in a way that is not simply in bad taste, it is blatantly hateful. He tweeted:

“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!”

The “TRAIL” Trump mentions refers to the journey made by several thousand Native Americans in the 1830s when the federal government forced them to relocate and walk thousands of miles to what was called “Indian Territory.” This journey, since dubbed the Trail of Tears, was very strenuous and incredibly dangerous. For 15,000 Native Americans, it was deadly.

This historical event is not something to joke about, and clearly Trump’s choice of words was wildly inappropriate and offensive. Making jokes at the expense of marginalised groups and the suffering they have endured is never acceptable. More so if you are the President of the United States. Here’s why:

Taunting Senator Warren with the nickname “Pocahontas” reduces a highly accomplished woman to her heritage. Besides being elected as Senator, she also published two books, worked as assistant to the president and taught law at Harvard University. But this tweet is damaging to more than just Elizabeth Warren.

Generally, racist people are not bold enough to make overt racist statements unless it is perceived to be socially acceptable. As the leader of our country, Trump sets an example for all Americans. When he shamelessly berates minorities in the public eye, he normalizes that behavior, creating a tolerance for discriminatory language. In essence, Trump empowers bigots to be more openly bigoted.

Trump holds a responsibility to serve all Americans, even those of different ethnic backgrounds. By encouraging intolerant behavior, he does a great disservice to the very diverse population of this country. His constant hateful rhetoric directed at those who are different than him is damaging to the very spirit of our nation. By telling Americans it’s okay to uphold racial stereotypes as the norm, it validates the prejudice held against minorities and fosters a dangerous environment for those minorities.

It is critical that we do not dismiss Trump’s tweet as a joke that went a little too far, because offensive comments like his attack on Elizabeth Warren do more damage than we realize.  Scorning minority groups (especially in reference to the brutal genocide of their ancestors) should not ever be accepted by the American people.