Warren DNA test reinvigorates fight with Trump

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Senate banking panel showcases 2020 Dems | Koch groups urge Congress not to renew tax breaks | Dow down nearly 400 | Cuomo defends Amazon HQ2 deal Election Countdown: Florida fight ends with Scott, DeSantis wins | Dems see Sunbelt in play for 2020 | Trump to campaign in Mississippi ahead of runoff | GOP wipeout in Orange County | Ortiz Jones concedes in Texas House race Sanders on 2020 White House bid: 'We're looking at it' MORE’s release of DNA test results on Monday that a researcher said "strongly support" her claim she has Native American ancestry reinvigorated a fight between the Massachusetts Democrat and President TrumpDonald John TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation MORE, who has repeatedly mocked her as “Pocahontas.”

Warren’s decision is the clearest sign yet that she is readying a campaign for president in 2020 and is seeking to go toe-to-toe with Trump.

It also suggested she is looking to move beyond the talk of her roots, something that has repeatedly been raised by Trump and other GOP critics who have described her as a fraud for her claims of Native American heritage.

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The DNA results showing that Warren has a Native American ancestor from between six and 10 generations ago received widespread cable news coverage and kept Warren in the spotlight throughout the day, something Democrats said could only help her ahead of what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary.

It also sparked a new fight with Trump that is likely to continue to generate headlines for days.

In a video accompanying the DNA test results, Warren called out Trump, saying he should pay up the $1 million to charity he offered on July 5 if she took DNA testing proving that she is “Indian.”  

“Remember saying on 7/5 that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry?” she tweeted. “I remember — and here’s the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.” 

Trump waved it off Monday, saying he had never offered to pay $1 million.

“I didn’t say that. You better read it again,” he said.

Later on Monday while traveling in Georgia, Trump said he would only donate $1 million if Warren let him test her “personally.”

“I’ll only do it if I can test her personally,” Trump told reporters, saying it would “not be something I will enjoy.”

Getting into fights with Trump has been a boon for many prospective Democratic candidates for the White House over the last year, as it helps them stand out from the crowd.

Warren’s declaration certainly garnered attention, but views were mixed on whether it would do her long-term good.

Jim Messina, who managed former President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and served as White House deputy chief of staff, questioned the timing of the move.

“Argue the substance all you want, but why 22 days before a crucial election where we MUST win house and senate to save America, why did @SenWarren have to do her announcement now? Why can’t Dems ever stay focused???” he tweeted. 

A spokeswoman for Warren did not respond to a request for comment. 

The Cherokee Nation was critical of Warren’s decision to release the test results.

“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement.

“It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven,” he said.

Rebecca Nagle, an indigenous writer, organizer and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, also criticized Warren from the left.

She told The Hill that no native tribes acknowledge DNA testing as a source for citizenship.

“She comes from a well-documented line of white people and so there is ample evidence that all of her ancestors are documented white people on the census rolls, by their marriage and birth and death certificates since going back before the Trail of Tears,” she added, referring to the forced migration of Native Americans to west of the Mississippi in the 1830s. 

A few Democratic strategists, however, hailed the move as a brilliant counter to Trump’s repeated jabs and predicted it would help her get out ahead of an attack Republicans are certain to use if she runs for president in 2020. 

“It puts Trump on the defensive, underscores his ginormous propensity for lying since there is clearly tape of him challenging her to take the DNA test and offering $1 million to charity if she did, which he now denies, and it puts everything out there prior to a possible run in 2020,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.  

Warren’s two-minute video included clips of Trump mocking her during a White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers last year.   

Other Democrats suggested Warren could close the book on the fight with the DNA test.

“Trump’s best hope of reelection in 2020 is to beat his Democratic opponent into a bloody pulp. Warren couldn’t let the ‘Pocahontas’ attacks hang in the air without responding to them. She can’t let Trump wear her down,” said Brad Bannon, another Democratic strategist. 

Warren, citing family stories, has long claimed Cherokee heritage and listed herself as a minority law teacher with the Association of American Law Schools from 1986 to 1994. 

Republican strategists said the DNA test would do little to blunt future attacks claiming she misled people about her heritage. 

“I thought it was a joke. I thought ‘Did I just jump on The Onion?’ I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I don’t think it helps her,” said GOP strategist Chip Saltsman. “What are the percentage of people who are between 1/32nd and 1/1000th Native American?”

Saltsman did acknowledge that it’s smart of Warren to pick a high-profile fight with a president that many Democratic voters abhor. 

“If her goal was to get into a fight with President Trump to keep that going because she thinks that helps her in a Democratic primary, maybe that helps her,” he said.