ERIE, Pa. – President Trump ridiculed potential Democratic opponents in his 2020 re-election battle and claimed that Sen. Elizabeth Warren "made a living" dishonestly from being "an Indian under minority protections."
Trump stated that Sen. Cory Booker had "destroyed Newark" and branded former Vice President Joe Biden as a political failure before "Obama took him off the trash heap." He labeled Biden "one percent Joe," a reference to his poor showing in the 2008 Democratic primary race, when he dropped out after securing 0.9 percent of delegates in the Iowa caucuses.
“So far I like all of them," Trump said when asked about the 2020 Democratic field in an interview with the Washington Examiner ahead of his rally in Erie Wednesday evening. "Matter of fact, I've been very hard on some of them, and I don't want to be because I may … I may have to run with somebody with some talent,” he said.
Trump rounded on Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for past claims of Native American heritage. "We talk Pocahontas all the time," he said, using the nickname for her that has prompted outrage from Democrats and Native American groups. "She' s made a living off getting things because of her heritage.
'She's not Indian. She's not an Indian. Her mother says she has high cheekbones, okay, and therefore she's an Indian,
therefore she applies under minority protections. It's ridiculous. I think it's a disgrace that she's ... she's gonna be running. I'd love to run against her."
He also attacked Cory Booker, D-N.J., for his record as mayor of Newark, N.J. "Cory Booker destroyed Newark," Trump said. "He was a horrible mayor. I wouldn't say he destroyed it, but he certainly made it worse than when he took over."
His next target was Biden, another likely member of a Democratic field for 2020 that could include two dozen hopefuls. "I like Joe Biden," Trump said. "I call him one percent Joe. He's never, literally, he's always been one percent, and then Obama took him off the trash heap, and all of a sudden he's supposed to be good."
Summarizing the likely Democratic field, he concluded: "You look at these, the people I just, this is not what our country's all about."
[Related: Trump mocks 2020 Democratic hopefuls: No 'star' or 'good thinker' on the list]
Critics of Warren have repeatedly accused her of using her heritage to advance her academic career but Trump's characterization of her having "made a living" from minority status is highly questionable.
Warren has said she is a distant descendant of the Cherokee and Delaware tribes, but she has little hard evidence to back her claims up.
She released what she said were all her teaching personnel files on her website and told the Boston Globe that heritage was never a factor in the hiring process. “My family is my family, but my background played no role in my getting hired anywhere," she said.
The Boston Globe performed a comprehensive review of documents and interviews and interviews and found no evidence to suggest she asserted having a Native American ethnicity while being considered by Harvard Law School.
The newspaper also concluded that race was not an issue considered in the employment process by faculty of other universities where Warren taught dating back to the 1970s, including Rutgers University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania.