Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren are feuding on Twitter over her DNA test

Here's what you need to know.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a town hall meeting in Roxbury earlier this month. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time since Sen. Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test Monday showing evidence of Native American ancestry, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to ridicule the Massachusetts Democrat and potential 2020 challenger, who he often refers to derisively as “Pocahontas.”

“Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American. Now Cherokee Nation denies her, ‘DNA test is useless.’ Even they don’t want her. Phony!”

In his statement, the Republican president was referring to the DNA test’s conclusion that Warren likely had at least one Native American ancestor dating back six to 10 generations, which would make her between between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American, or between 1.6 percent and 0.1 percent. While the findings align with the Oklahoma native’s family lore that that her great-great-great-grandmother was at least partially Native American, a 2014 study found that the average European American (as opposed to simply the average American, as Trump stated) was 0.18 percent Native American.


Trump said Warren “should apologize for perpetrating this fraud,” and claimed that Harvard would not have otherwise hired her as a law professor. However, a recent exhaustive review of documents and interviews with Warren’s former colleagues by The Boston Globe found no evidence that her claims of Native American heritage were ever considered by those involved in the hiring process.

Additionally, Trump thanked the Cherokee Nation, which called Warren’s decision to resort to a DNA test “inappropriate and wrong.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement Monday. “Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation.”

For her part, Warren has never claimed any tribal membership and says she respects the distinction.

Warren, who appears to be preparing for a 2020 presidential campaign, responded to Trump’s series of tweets Tuesday morning with two tweets of her own, mocking the Republican president for reviving the Pocahontas nickname, which she and some Native American leaders say is a racist slur.

“Millions of people watched you, @realDonaldTrump, as you fumbled and lied on your $1 million pledge,” Warren tweeted. “It then took a day for your handlers to tee up this recycled racist name-calling. You’ve lost a step, and in 21 days, you’re going to lose Congress.”

She also reminded Trump that, during a rally in July, he promised to donate $1 million if she took a DNA test and it proved she had Native American ancestry. Warren suggested that he make the donation to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, which seeks to help Native American women, who experience a disproportionate rate of sexual violence.


After denying that he ever made the $1 million promise Monday, Trump clarified later that day that it only applied if she took the DNA test during a 2020 presidential debate and if he conducted it “personally.”

“I’ll only do it if I can test her personally,” the president told reporters Monday evening. “OK? That will not be something I enjoy doing either.”

Trump’s remarks about testing Warren “personally” elicited a lengthy series of tweets from the Bay State senator Monday night, in which she called the president “creepy” and a fake populist who “who has never known or cared what life is like for anyone who’s ever lived outside of a skyscraper in Manhattan.”

“He’s scared,” she tweeted. “He’s trying to do what he always does to women who scare him: call us names, attack us personally, shrink us down to feel better about himself. It may soothe his ego – but it won’t work.”

Warren went on to lambast everything from Trump’s business record to his refusal to release his tax returns to his economic policies to his administration’s multitude of scandals to the inconsistencies between his rhetoric and actual actions when it comes to law enforcement, veterans, and patriotism. Running for re-election this fall, she also presented herself as someone who was standing up for working people and vulnerable communities.


Concluding her thread of tweets, Warren warned the the midterm elections, in which Democrats are forecasted to make gains in the House of Representatives, are fast approaching.