Many in the national media are coming to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s defense after she released a DNA test showing she likely has a distant ancestor who was Native American.
With the publication of the test results in the Boston Globe, some journalists are suggesting it vindicates Warren, D-Mass., and are turning their scrutiny to President Trump, who has long mocked Warren for what he and other Republicans believed was a dubious claim to Native American heritage.
Reporters and bloggers are particularly interested in a public offer Trump made Warren at a campaign rally in July, when he said he would pay $1 million to a charity of Warren’s choice if she were to take a DNA test that proves her to be “an Indian.”
After the results were made public, Warren tweeted that Trump should make a payment to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and reporters followed up on that question. Before he departed the Washington, D.C., to tour hurricane-ravaged parts of Florida, a reporter asked Trump to comment on the DNA results, which was conducted by a Stanford University professor.
“Who cares?” Trump replied.
“But you said you’d pay $1 million to a charity,” the reporter said.
“So is Trump gonna pay up?” Matthew Yglesias, a liberal blogger for Vox, asked on Twitter.
“No,” replied CNBC correspondent John Harwood.
October 15, 2018
MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson said on air, “So, now that the results are out, though, the president’s like ‘who cares?’”
CNN politics reporter Eric Bradner tweeted, “Trump literally challenged Warren in July to do exactly what she just did.”
But while the results said that there was “strong evidence” Warren has an ancestor of Native American heritage, the ancestor, according to the report, would have been somewhere from six to 10 generations back, which would put Warren somewhere from 1/64 to 1/1,024 parts Native American.
Conservative critics mocked the fractions as near negligible and the Republican National Committee pointed to a 2014 New York Times article that said the “average” European-American has genomes that are 0.18 percent Native American, or about 1/500.
“To put that in perspective, Warren might even be less Native American than the average European American,” read an email blast Monday from the RNC.
Still, some in the media have made the test result into an issue for the White House.
When an Associated Press reporter asked White House adviser Kellyanne Conway for comment on Warren’s test result, she said she hadn’t seen the test but that, “I know that everybody likes to pick their junk science or sound science depending on the conclusion it seems some days, but I haven't looked at the DNA test and it really doesn't interest me.”
Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake attempted to link Conway's remark to Trump, who in an interview Sunday doubted the impact humans have on climate change. “The Trump admin[istration], for the second time in 12 hours: Don't believe science," tweeted Blake.
The New York Times' Nick Confessore sarcastically remarked, "President Trump is sure to stop mocking Senator Warren about her ancestry now that she has provided definitive proof."