President Trump joked Thursday night that he would give Senator Elizabeth Warren $1 million to a charity of her choice if she took a DNA test and it proved that she has Native American roots.
Trump made the comments during a rally in Montana, at which he spoke at length about the Massachusetts Democrat, calling her his favorite politically incorrect nickname — “Pocahontas” — and chiding her about her undocumented claims of Cherokee heritage.
“Pocahontas — they always want me to apologize for saying it. And I want to apologize. I’ll use tonight: Pocahontas, I apologize to you,” Trump said, as some supporters in the audience laughed. “To you, I apologize. To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.”
Warren has not backed off her claims and has even forcefully defended them: In February, she told the National Congress of American Indians that her mother’s family was part Native American.
“The story they lived will always be a part of me,” she then said, as tears came to her eyes. “And no one — not even the president of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.”
However, that hasn’t stopped Trump from taking up the issue publicly, including at Thursday’s rally.
“Let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas, right?” Trump said Thursday night. “I’m going to get one of those little kits, and in middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she is of Indian heritage — because her mother said that she has high cheekbones; that’s her only evidence, that her mother said she has high cheekbones — we will take that little kit, and we will say — but we have to do it gently because we’re in the ‘Me Too’ generation, so we have to be very gentle — and we will very gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn’t hit her and injure her arm, even though it probably only weighs 2 ounces.
“And we will say, ‘I will give you $1 million to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian,’ ” Trump said, to cheers and applause from the audience. “And let’s see what she does, right? I have a feeling she will say no. But we’ll hold that for the debates.”
Warren responded to the president in a strongly worded tweet, tying his japes about her ancestry to his administration’s highly controversial separations of immigrant parents and children who have entered the country illegally.
Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you're destroying.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 5, 2018
Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.