Warren sees stock rise with Trump insults

Warren sees stock rise with Trump insults
© Camille Fine

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE’s latest “Pocahontas” insult of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE is a political gift for the Massachusetts Democrat, who has seized the moment to build capital in the 2020 presidential race.

Hours after Trump went after Warren by calling her “Pocahontas” at an event honoring Navajo Code Talkers at the White House on Monday, Warren hit the airwaves to lambast the president before sending a fundraising email aimed at further riling up Democrats.

Trump’s repeated use of the insult — dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign — has elevated Warren, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 if she chooses to run.

“For Elizabeth Warren, it’s grass-roots fundraising jet fuel,” said Democratic strategist David Wade. “It puts her center stage as a Republican bogeyman the way Ted Kennedy was often center stage for decades.

“If they’re talking about you, you can argue it means they fear you, and you can take that to your political base as a rallying cause to help other Democrats, raise money and grow an online army.”

Democrats see few downsides for Warren, even though Trump has made a career out of diminishing rivals with derisive nicknames to his own benefit.

The day after Trump made the remark — which caught White House aides by surprise — even Republicans acknowledged it created an opportunity for Warren.

“Strategically speaking, it was smart for her to jump on it,” said Shermichael Singleton, a Republican consultant. “She can go to her base and say ‘He’s crude. He’s rude. He’s inappropriate.’ ”

“I think it was inappropriate for the president to make that joke in that moment in time,” Singleton said. “Everything is always about time and place and that wasn’t the right time.”

In an interview on Monday night with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Warren said that she “really couldn’t believe” Trump’s comments, rubbing in the moment for Democratic supporters.

“There he was, at a ceremony to honor Native Americans, men who have really put it all on the line to save American lives, to save lives of people, our allies, during World War II, really amazing people. And President Trump couldn’t even make it through a ceremony to honor these men without throwing in a racial slur,” she said.

A few hours later, the senator was fundraising off the remark, calling it the “very worst of gutter politics” and “a disgusting new low.”

“You might have heard that Donald Trump likes to call me ‘Pocahontas.’ He does it on Twitter, at rallies, and even in official White House meetings,” Warren wrote to supporters. “He did this because he thinks he can bully me and shut me up. He thinks he can bully and silence anybody he wants.”

Warren’s remarks harkened back to another moment that helped her: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Overnight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria Senate to vote Monday on Trump's VA nominee MORE’s (R-Ky.) decision to rebuke her for comments on the Senate floor critical of then-attorney general nominee Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors Key GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum MORE during his confirmation process.

McConnell’s interruption of Warren’s speech for impugning the motives of Sessions came as she was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, and took away Warren’s right to speak on the Senate floor. His explanation became campaign fodder for Democrats: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Republicans are hoping the new fight will have less resonance.

“I don’t think this moment will last long to be honest with you,” Singleton said. “I don’t think this is big enough for her to grow her name ID with a new constituency and a new audience. I think it’s gone in a matter of days.”

“But it certainly gives her ammunition for an existing audience,” he said.

Democratic strategist Christy Setzer said that in the Pocahontas flap, Warren and Trump can benefit.

“Everyone wins,” Setzer said. “Warren is happy to be raised to Trump’s level on the national stage and happy to get under his skin. Democrats are delighted. We know Warren runs rings around Trump and we’re spoiling for a fight.”

“And Trump’s base is deeply satisfied to see Warren mocked,” she said, adding, “Look for more of Warren–Trump sparring in the future.”