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She Can’t (or Won’t) Handle the Truth?

Sen. Warren resists an effort to verify her claims.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) at a press conference in the Capitol last Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/Zuma Press


James Freeman


U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) is not only sticking with a story that is increasingly difficult to believe. She now seems uninterested in even attempting to authenticate her claims of Native American ancestry. And she continues to accuse her paternal grandparents of bigotry without offering any evidence for the smear.

Ms. Warren is running for re-election this fall in Massachusetts and after that her campaign is widely expected to go national. Without documentation for her assertions of native heritage, she is not eligible to lead the Cherokee Nation. She may therefore have to settle for being President of the United States.

Making the media rounds over the weekend, Sen. Warren was asked to respond to an editorial last week in the Berkshire Eagle, a left-leaning Massachusetts newspaper. The Eagle editorial, while lauding Ms. Warren as “a fighter for social equality,” nevertheless noted:

There are now so many commercial DNA heritage-tracking labs in business that they advertise on television. The going rate for one of the most popular tests is $99. All the senator needs to do is spit into a tube, wait a few weeks and get her answer. No matter if the test came up negative or positive, it would constitute a plus for Warren and her political hopes. Were she to test positive for Native American DNA, it would permanently resolve the issue — while possibly shutting down President Trump. Should the test come up negative, it would be an opportunity for the senator to perform an act rarely seen among politicians: an admission of her error and a full-throated apology to Native American tribes and anyone else offended by her spurious claim. By facing the truth and taking responsibility for it, she would disarm her enemies and show potential voters that she was human and capable of mistakes, just like them. Handled properly, it could become a testimonial to her integrity and truthfulness at a time when that quality is in short supply among the nation’s leadership. So we call upon our senior senator to screw up her courage and take the spit test.

She doesn’t appear to be listening. Asked several times over the weekend about the paper’s suggestion, Ms. Warren avoided answering questions directly and insisted that she will stick with a story she claims to have been told by relatives.

Asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd about the Berkshire Eagle’s suggestion to take a DNA test, Sen. Warren said, according to NBC’s transcript:

So let me tell you the story of my family. My mother and daddy were born and raised in Oklahoma. My daddy first saw my mother when they were both teenagers. He fell in love with this tall, quiet girl who played the piano. Head over heels. But his family was bitterly opposed to their relationship because she was part Native American.They eventually eloped.They survived the Great Depression. The Dust Bowl. A lot of knocks. They raised my three brothers, all of whom headed off to the military, and me. And they fought. They loved each other. And most of all they hung together for 63 years. And that’s the story that my brothers and I all learned from our mom and our dad, from our grandparents, from all of our aunts and uncles. It’s a part of me, and nobody’s going to take that part of me away.

This column has previously noted an implausible part of this story. If Native American ancestry was so distant on her mother’s side that the senator cannot even name any native relatives, how would her father’s family have even known?

Now the senator is suggesting that “all” of her aunts and uncles, both of her parents and at least two of her grandparents told her that her father’s family was comprised of such bigots that they “bitterly” opposed a marriage based on the mere possibility of some Native American heritage, without any direct evidence.

Ms. Warren’s deceased relatives of course cannot sue her for slander, so the possibility of intra-family litigation seems remote.

But there are other problems with this story. Ms. Warren insisted to Mr. Todd that she has never benefited from her claims, even though, for example, Harvard Law School presented her as Native American to demonstrate its diversity.

Ms. Warren was also asked about the possibility of a DNA test in a Sunday appearance on Fox News. She responded by telling the same story about her family, using nearly identical language. She concluded, “It’s a part of who I am and no one’s ever going to take that away.”

Of course if it really is part of who she is, then no one can.


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(Carol Muller and Lisa Rossi help compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Jackie Harty.)

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