Congress

Elizabeth Warren planned fanfare, but instead she’s getting panned

Warren’s anticipated 2020 campaign rollout overshadowed by reports renewed criticism over Native American heritage claim

 Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been dogged with questions about her claims of Native American heritage in the week before her anticipated announcement of a 2020 presidential bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Elizabeth Warren planned to spend the week gearing up for a “big announcement,” in her home state of Massachusetts followed by a ceremonial tour of Iowa.

Instead, she has been overwhelmed yet again with criticism about her claims of Native American heritage. It is the latest in a series of unforced errors that have destabilized Warren, as she attempts to roll out one of the most highly anticipated presidential campaigns in a competitive Democratic field. 

The Washington Post report Tuesday that Warren had identified herself as “American Indian” on a 1986 State Bar of Texas registration card prompted Warren to repeat and clarify an apology that landed with a thud earlier this week. 

“I can’t go back,” Warren told the The Washington Post. “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”

That statement came several days after Warren personally apologized to the Cherokee nation chief, but was panned for her initial evasiveness about what the apology was actually for.

The incident earned her a satirical headline in the Onion, dozens of questions from reporters who dogged her in the halls of the Capitol building and a renewed dig from President Trump.

The president repeated the racist taunt that started the  whole thing in an interview with The New York Times last week. “I do think Elizabeth Warren’s been hurt very badly with the Pocahontas trap,” Trump said. 

ABC’s Rick Klein pointed out Trump’s goading is far worse than any of Warren’s alleged misdeeds. Her problem, he said, is rather that she is struggling to define herself at a time when Democrats are demanding authenticity. 

“For a candidate who’s not even technically a candidate yet, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has done a whole lot of battling with herself,” ABC’s Rick Klein opined. 

In short, Warren is not exactly controlling her own narrative. 

Warren still has almost a year to make up for the gaffes before the Iowa caucuses. But high-profile competitors with similar name recognition like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are entering the race every day.

None of them have started out with an apology tour. 

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