New Dem lawmaker slams Gaetz for using the term 'Sacagawea' to attack Warren

Freshman Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandFirst Native American woman elected to Washington State House wears traditional regalia at swearing-in Native American lawmaker: Haven't heard back from GOP rep who called Warren 'Sacagawea' New Dem lawmaker slams Gaetz for using the term 'Sacagawea' to attack Warren MORE (D-N.M.), who this week became one of the first two Native American women sworn into Congress, said it was “offensive and hurtful” for Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMaduro starts new term in Venezuela facing US sanctions, lack of legitimacy abroad Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Native American lawmaker: Haven't heard back from GOP rep who called Warren 'Sacagawea' MORE (R-Fla.) to call Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenMoveOn leaders stepping down before 2020 election Julián Castro calls for ‘tuition-free’ public colleges, apprenticeships Native American leader asks when US will come to its ‘senses’ after Trump’s ‘racist’ attack against Warren MORE (D-Mass.) “Sacagawea."

Haaland slammed Gaetz for making the comparison to Sacagawea, the Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

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“Sacagawea made great sacrifices that changed American history,” Haaland said. “When anyone speaks her name, it should be with great respect.”

Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe in New Mexico, called Gaetz’s comments “offensive and hurtful.”

“I invite him to meet [with] me so I can share how such comments are a continuing assault on indigenous people,” she added.

In response, the Florida Republican asked if Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDem leaders avert censure vote against Steve King Florida official refuses to apologize for saying Tlaib might ‘blow up’ Capitol Hill White House's Sanders: King white supremacist comments 'abhorrent' MORE (D-Mich.) could be invited as well.

“We’re going to go in and impeach the mothef---er,” the freshman Democrat told supporters, referring to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles MORE.

"She seems to have a sophisticated understanding of non-offensive language," Gaetz said in a tweet.

The Hill has reached out to Gaetz’s office about Haaland's invitation.

Gaetz made the remark about Warren and her claims of Native American heritage during a Fox News segment Friday.

“I know the president likes to call her ‘Pocahontas,’ but now that she’s making her way from the eastern seaboard into the center of the country, maybe Sacagawea would be more appropriate,” Gaetz said. “Instead of bringing Lewis and Clark, she is bringing the most liberal policies of the Democratic Party.”

Warren, who announced her plans to form an exploratory committee to run for president, was the first prominent Democrat to enter the 2020 race.

She has long claimed to have Native American heritage and released the results of a DNA test in October which showed she had “strong evidence” of ancestry.

Haaland commended Warren for sharing the results, saying she acknowledged her Native ancestry as “testament to who we are as Americans.”

"The oppression that Native people have experienced over the course of our history caused many Native American families to deny their heritage, language, and culture, and I understand why this was the case with her family,” Haaland said in a statement.

Trump and his Republican base has not ceased his attacks on Warren, frequently using the nickname “Pocahontas.”

Gaetz defended his use of a nickname when Fox News host Melissa Francis pushed back, saying “half the world screams at you that you have made a racial slur.”

“I am simply saying that this is someone who misrepresented her heritage,” Gaetz, an outspoken Trump supporter, said. “She wanted to be forward-leaning on this element of her own biography that wasn’t accurate. It’s not about her heritage, it's about trustworthiness.”

--This report was updated on Jan. 6 at 10:38 a.m.