Elizabeth Warren responded to the president’s “Pocahontas” poke by calling it “racist” and sending out a fundraising appeal pleading with donors to strike back at a “bully.” But when talk-show host Bill Maher made the same quip, the Massachusetts senator merely made a point about the popularity of progressivism.
“They don’t like you, Pocahontas,” the comic said to Warren’s face on Real Time with Bill Maher earlier this year. The liberal audience laughed hysterically.
Warren neither lectured the laughers nor scolded the joker. She did not respond with a fundraising letter or denounce Maher’s “racist” speech on national television. Warren, as a Deadline Hollywood article noted in April, simply ignored the quip. She paused before continuing to make her point after the laughter died down.
The nickname stems from Warren’s discredited claims of Native American ancestry. She listed herself in academic directories as a minority professor despite her blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale complexion. Critics argue that this falsehood led the Rutgers Law graduate to a position on the faculty of Harvard Law.
Warren’s insistence that Trump voters liked her and her issues prompted an incredulous Maher to issue the “Pocahontas” retort on HBO in April. Warren then doubled down on her point that Trump voters embrace progressive taxation, Social Security, stringent regulations of financial institutions, and a host of other liberal ideas. “America — Democrats, Republicans, independents, libertarians, vegetarians — Americans, by about 2-to-1, are with us on that,” Warren maintained. “The progressive agenda is America’s agenda. We cannot forget that and we cannot apologize.”
On Monday, Trump used the same moniker to mock Warren.
“We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago,” Donald Trump joked in the presence of World War II Navajo code talkers in the Oval Office. “They call her ‘Pocahontas.’”
The senator reacted differently than she did to Bill Maher. Warren labeled the word a “racist slur” and “the very worst of gutter politics” when Donald Trump uttered it.